In the last few days the world has salivated over Germany’s dominance of European football. Many have seen this as yet another piece of evidence demonstrating the fact that Germany is the economic powerhouse of the Eurozone. It is certainly the case that the European single currency is being held together by German purse strings, however is it really the case that Germany is the only significant growth area in Europe and therefore rules the roost?
On the face of it there is certainly a considerable divide in the economic prospects for Mediterranean nations and their Northern counterparts (of which Germany, as the fourth largest economy in the world is the most prominent). Yet the outlook for German growth for this year remains a paltry 0.4% (paltry by pre-2008 standards, us Brits would relish such figures). And increasingly Angela Merkel is not the only decision maker in Brussels, as evinced by this week’s cut in interest rates from the ECB, a good move for Europe, if not for Germany.
This year’s all-German Champions League final has prompted much soul searching amongst football fans, as has the Germans’ underwriting of much of the Eurozone’s economy. However the Euro was, as the nomenclature suggest, a European experiment and it is one that Germany is stuck with. As such the rest of Europe (like Barcelona) must adapt, however the notion that the Bundesbank is synonymous with the ECB is, for the moment at least, farfetched. If there is anything that the economic downturn has taught us it is that the future, unlike certain penalty shootouts, is uncertain: for Germany, and for the rest of us.
Some candidates I speak to, in the age old tradition that ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ see Germany as an attractive option compared to a quiet British market. However, whilst demand is certainly restrained in the UK’s Financial Services, the recent positive growth and PMI figures indicate that there may be a bounce back of sorts and this certainly seems borne out in the confidence of clients that we are in discussion with. Therefore the UK seems as fruitful a market (in economic, if not footballing terms) as Germany for employment.
I would welcome your comments on the ongoing issues that pervade the Eurozone – if you have a solution then Mario Draghi and I are certainly willing to hear it!