Saturday

3rd Dec 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.

Analysis

Doubts hang over EU investment plan's future

Questions of value for money and a lack of transparency complicate adding almost €200 billion more and extending the Juncker investment plan to 2020.

News in Brief

  1. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start
  2. Lead MEP Dieselgate committee: Italy and Slovakia will cooperate
  3. Transparency NGO sues EU commission on Turkey deal
  4. Pro-EU liberal wins UK by-election
  5. Finnish support for Nato drops, Russia-scepticism grows
  6. Cyprus talks to resume in January
  7. Documents from German NSA inquiry released
  8. Transport commissioner 'not aware' of legal action on emissions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. CESIElects Leaders and Sets Safety & Health at Work and Gender Equality Among the Guidelines For Next Term
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationContinues to Grow its Membership and Welcomes its Newest Member Association
  3. ACCASupports the Women of Europe Awards, Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  4. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  5. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  6. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  7. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  8. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Trasport and Mobility in Rome
  10. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  12. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security