Parole sante (dalle lettere all'Economist, 14 febbraio 2015):Southern comfort
May I ask my beloved Economist to consult the facts first before being unkind to a lady (“Go ahead, Angela, make my day”, January 31st)? Far from remaining “stuck with near-zero growth” those countries of the southern euro zone that have followed Angela Merkel’s prescription of labour-market reform and fiscal repair started to recover nicely some four to six quarters ago. In the last two quarters for which we have data, annualised growth averaged 2.4% for Spain, 2.2% for Greece and 1.2% for Portugal.
For Spain and Portugal, leading indicators project stronger gains ahead while, sadly, Greek indicators have started to nosedive with the rise of the Syriza threat. The medicine was bitter, and probably dished out as an overdose in the case of Greece. But it is working.Italy is the one country that sticks out. It has a mild recession precisely because it has not yet swallowed the labour-reform pill.
If Greece now reverses its own labour reforms it will probably sink back into recession. But blame that on Alexis, not Angela.