Saturday

27th Aug 2016

German economy feels chill of eurozone recession

  • Berlin: German President Joachim Gauck said Germans would be ill-advised to think the worst is over (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Germany's economic growth has slowed to a meagre 0.2 percent, as most other eurozone countries are in recession and austerity measures are taking their toll on German exports to southern countries.

The eurozone's overall economy shrank by 0.1 percent compared to the previous three months, the bloc's statistical office (Eurostat) reported on Thursday (15 November). The 17-nation area had already slipped into recession over the summer, with Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and the Netherlands continuing the negative trend.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

France rebounded to 0.2 percent growth compared to stagnation and recession in the previous quarters, and so did Finland and Estonia. The tiny Baltic state boasted a 1.7 percent growth rate, the highest in the eurozone.

Germany's economy meanwhile has slowed from 0.5 percent growth in the first quarter to 0.3 percent in the second and 0.2 in the third, with the country's central bank warning of stagnation and even recession in the months to come.

Speaking at an economics forum in Berlin on Thursday, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble made the case for "sustainable growth" - meaning modest growth rates not based on real estate bubbles or consumer credit.

"We must strive to become a stability union, where fiscal rules are respected" Schaeuble said, one day after massive protests and general strikes took place in Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece and Belgium against what is seen as a German-led austerity drive.

"I have great respect for the demonstrations in these countries," the German minister said. But he continued to make the case for structural reforms to make an ageing and costly Europe more competitive in relation to China and India.

But the centre-right coalition itself has come under fire from the opposition for allegedly "wasting money on pre-election gifts" and doing the opposite what it is preaching to bailed out countries by passing a controversial subsidy for parents who stay at home to raise their children.

Private indebtedness is meanwhile also going up in Germany, with official figures showing that one in ten Germans is unable to pay their debt - a three-percent increase compared to last year.

Speaking at the same forum, President Joachim Gauck said Germans would be ill-advised to think the worst is over. Despite encouraging growth and employment rates, "we can feel it everywhere, something is deeply wrong," he said.

Changing rules and regulation to stem financial speculation and abuse is a good thing, Gauck said. "But just as urgent is to check our own inner beliefs, our own motives and attitudes. This process seems to be halted," he said.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey