How much are the decision makers of the EU listening to the feet on the streets of Europe’s cities on the day of action?
Is there a sense that policies and promises will in the long run lead to an end of the eurozone crisis? In the short term the forecasts spell out a painful present and a pessimistic future.
Growth is set to remain negative for the rest of this year. The predicted upturn in 2013 will be marginal. The jobless numbers for unemployment, from the European Commission are an average across the eurozone and are forecasted to rise next year from 11.3 percent to 11.8 percent . They mask the figures from individual countries with data released today for Portugal and Greece spelling out the stark reality.
The recession in Portugal deepened for the third quarter with export growth slowing and domestic demand hit by the austerity measures. It marked the seventh straight quarter of contraction. The unemployment rate jumped to a new record of 15.8 percent, up 3.4 percent in 12 months. Among young people the rate reached 39 percent.
“In the middle of bad news, the Portuguese must know that the figures for growth are in line with our expectations. It is the same with the unemployment level. We know that we will see unemployment rise more before there is an improvement, in a sustainable way. That will happen when the economy will grow also in a sustainable level, after 2014,” said Passos Coelho, Portuguese Prime Minister.
There were was no hiding bad news for Greece. The country’s economic slump deepened in the third quarter with output shrinking 7.2 percent on an annual basis. One in four Greeks remain out of work. Analysts said today’s figures could actually point to a worse outlook because they were offset by better-than-expected returns from the country’s tourism sector.