The raft of data coming out of the euro area in recent weeks has been more and more mediocre and has erased all doubts: the strategy for extricating the economy from the crisis in the past few years has been a failure. None of the mechanisms born of resulting from decisions made by European leaders have delivered results or are about to:
-the structural policies aimed at improving competitiveness have failed, because global trade is tanking
-as proof: Germany’s export outlook is sputtering and the ability of the euro area’s biggest economy to act as the region’s growth driver (i.e. its “appointed” role) is going up in smoke;
-fiscal austerity’s only effect, under such conditions, is to fuel deflationary pressures and are counter-productive in controlling public debt levels.
These failures hardly come as a surprise. Like many of our peers, we have been decrying these shortcomings but did we really need to spell them out before hoping to make a convincing enough argument to effect the urgent change in the direction of European economic policy? With the situation becoming increasingly dire, where should, at present, our fears and hopes lie?