“Europe has emerged from the danger zone. It’s time for us to get our act together, to reform and to grow”
That optimistic remark comes from Benoit Coeure, a European Central Bank official who was quoted by Reuters.
It’s true that it has been quite a while since we woke up in the morning to news about some European nation or other teetering on the brink of financial collapse. Quite the opposite. There has been a tiny trickle of news that provide some slivers of optimism.
For instance, the U.K. economy (outside the eurozone) grew by 0.8% in the quarter ended September, its best quarterly performance since 2010, while inside the eurozone, Spain, the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy and one of the worst hit during the sovereign debt crisis, also crawled out of recession in more than two years with 0.1% growth in gross domestic product for the three months ended September.
The current account deficits of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, problems areas during the past few years, have been whittled down considerably after harsh austerity measures were imposed under pressure from the international community. Meanwhile, Germany, the eurozone’s economic powerhouse and largest economy, expects economic growth to hum along and spur record employment and consumer spending.
Still, don’t get too comfy with the situation. If we’ve learnt anything from the past few years, it’s that a crisis can erupt overnight. The eurozone may be out of the danger zone for now, but its structural problems remain. So it’s difficult to see how it can remain crisis-free for long.