BRUSSELS (Reuters). The euro zone economy grew at a snail’s pace in the fourth quarter, figures on Tuesday confirmed, as investments and consumer and government spending just offset the impact of a sharp rise in imports.
EU statistics office Eurostat said that gross domestic product (GDP) in the 19 countries sharing the single currency rose by just 0.1 percent in the Oct-Dec period, in line with its flash estimate published last month.
Eurostat did though revise its figure for year-on-year growth to 1.0 from 0.9 percent.
France and Italy, the zone’s second and third largest economies, as well as Finland and Greece suffered contractions in the fourth quarter.
Gross fixed capital formation contributed 0.9 percentage points to GDP and household and government spending each 0.1 points.
In the same data release, Eurostat said that employment rose by 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter and by 1.1 percent year-on-year.
The European Union has for long pursued a policy of how its political view the world. All inclusive, all dominating, all rights, all minorities on equal footing. The tragic death of a toddler on the beaches of Turkey fleeing the war in Syria triggered an emotional response by the German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Her intelligence boss warned against unfettered immigration of refugees. He was fired, and Germans rejected the policy triggering the rise of the alt-right, national party of AfD.
The UK exit from the European Union is a serious blow to European Union. Boris Johnson, Farage and other exiteers skillfully painted a picture that appeal to the alienated middle class counting on the “Englishness” and the loss of its identity. Slight wake up call, British politics are no longer the white-class ruling elites. Boris Johnson shows a large number of Indian and Pakistani heritage and woman in the cabinet.
The Guardian wrote, “Brexit was never inevitable, and the irony is that we are leaving an organisation more aligned than at any time since we joined with the British priorities of free trade, competition, active and responsible international policies, and cooperation on security.”
The German MP Norbert Röttgen, who chairs the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag, suggested the idea of the UK leaving was always so alien and nightmarish for EU leaders that they blinded themselves to the warning signals. By the time of the 2016 referendum the chance to find compromise had been lost. The UK is gone, not many tears are shed.
Many in the EU are happy to see the ignorant Brits leaving. “They wanted to leave, let them. No loss to us.”, said a retired teacher in Munich when interviewed about the recent events in Brussel. “Lets isolate the UK. Like Trump in the US, Boris Johnson needs now actually perform. For decades Johnson, Farage and others have plotted against a strong Europe. Good riddance. It is time for the Europeans to grow up.”
Many in Europe are calling for an back-to-business approach. “We wasted so much time on the real issues instead of dealing with the UK and their internal squabbles.”, said a Parisian newspaper stand owner. “We need political leaders who finally realize Europe exists without the UK. Thats is.”, he added.