Wednesday, August 17, 2011

If Germany is starting to sputter...

...then the remainder of Europe might be heading for shut down.

Germany remains the strongest nation economically in Europe; but the Washington Post offers some sobering news, noting that the German economy is slowing.
The economy of Germany, Europe’s headline performer, slowed to a virtual standstill over the past three months, according to new figures released Tuesday, a further blow to international efforts to contain the financial crisis on the continent.

The discouraging news came just hours before German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for closer European coordination in setting economic policy and new steps to discipline governments whose lax budget practices prompted the debt crisis.
The Los Angeles Times examines the aforementioned meeting between Ms. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy.
Under pressure to show a unified approach to the crisis facing Europe's economies, the leaders of France and Germany met Tuesday and proposed forming a "real economic government" over the 17 countries that share the euro currency.

The proposal of closer cooperation on economic matters was designed to show the resolve of the continent's two biggest economies to defend the euro against financial markets that for months have questioned the solvency of some member countries.

At the hastily convened summit in Paris, German Chancellor
Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy also pledged to harmonize fiscal policies between their nations, and called on Eurozone members to enshrine their treaty pledges on deficit and debt limits in binding constitutional law.
The Asian markets were among those that didn't like the results of that meeting. As Bloomberg reports, stocks there fell.

Germany's growth last quarter was a feeble 0.1 percent, and Bloomberg reports in a separate story that the continent didn't want to hear such news.
"The German data are certainly disappointing," said Juergen Michels, chief euro-area economist at Citigroup in London. "Going forward, I wouldn't exclude that the euro area will fall into recession, but the main scenario is still one for weak expansion."Growth in the 17-nation euro region slowed to 0.2 percent in the second quarter from 0.8 percent in the first, the European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg said Tuesday.

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