So here we go, European Parliamentary elections throughout the EU this weekend!
Now to have an idea of the general “ambiance”, let’s take a quick look at the news presented officially as “good” over the past months (not to mention the “fantastic, let’s throw a party!” tone usually used).
Portugal is out of the dolldrums… really? Anemic growth last year and back to red in Q1 this year; let’s keep an eye on the huge social costs of the austerity measures which made that “growth” possible. Socio-political impact is yet to be recognised, and that will likely not happen before people take to the streets… or express themselves through the balott boxes?
The Euro-Zone’s GDP has started growing again… youpiiiie! Yeah, by a whopping 0.2% in Q1 this year. OK, any analysis of what growth that was, in which area, how? Nope…. Well, better news than if it were negative, and all those statisticians out there who will mention that given the margin of error, it might well be red, please don’t spoil the party.
Borrowing costs are way down for EURO-Zone Government bonds! Well, lots of money needs to find a home and will be looking for the safer ones…. so great news, the EURO-Zone is back in favour, which means that the rest of the world is doing…. worse! Not sure that is good news, but let’s take it all the same.
Interestingly, in an environment where we want to talk ourselves out of trouble by not mentionning bad news, or the suffering in real people’s lives and hope that it will all just get better because we say so, well, some new words have appeared, further enriching the English vocabulary: Grecovery, Grecession… or even Grepression? (Remember that our Greek friends did indeed invent many things… ;-).
Well, what will really happen for Greece (and others)? One indicator: Youth unemployment still at 60%, with many people simply dropping out of the system entirely, so not even appearing in the statistics anymore…
This means that out of ten young people, four might have some kind of job, many on a temporary basis and if you make more than EUR 1’500.- gross? Man, you are now among the mega-privileged!
As said in numerous previous blogs: Watch the next elections! And that is this weekend….
And in any case, and for whatever it’s worth: my advice in two words: Go Vote!!