Going down, going down
The eurozone economy shrank by 0.2 per cent overall in the first quarter of this year. That’s the sixth quarter in a row – the longest recession the eurozone has seen. The Greek economy contracted for the nineteenth straight quarter. France has its third recession in the space of four years. And Italy’s GDP contracted for the seventh quarter in a row – its longest recession for over 20 years.
Going up, going up
Public debt in EU member states carries on rising. Germany was the only country in the EU with a budget surplus for 2012. The overall debt was 85.3 per cent of GDP in 2012, up from 82.5 per cent in 2011.
A new record
Unemployment in the eurozone was at a record high in March at 12.1 per cent. In total 19.2 million people are now out of work in the region thanks to the pernicious effect of the single currency. Greece and Spain recorded the highest rates in the eurozone, 27.2 per cent and 26.7 per cent respectively. Youth unemployment is 64.2 per cent in Greece and 55.9 per cent in Spain.
The longest recession
New Eurobarometer poll figures show that trust in the EU has fallen dramatically in its six biggest member states since the start of the financial crisis.
Between May 2007 and November 2012 the proportion of people saying they tended not to trust the EU rose from 49 to 69 per cent in Britain.
The increases were comparable in France, 41 to 56 per cent, and Germany, 36 to 59 per cent. Elsewhere the increases were greater in proportion: Poland from 18 to 42 per cent and Italy from 28 to 53 per cent; greatest of all was Spain from 23 to 72 per cent.
The head of the European Council on Foreign Relations, José Ignacio Torreblanca, said, “The damage is so deep that it does not matter whether you come from a creditor or debtor country ... citizens now think their national democracy is being subverted.” But EU president José Manuel Barroso put it down to a “lack of understanding”. ■