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The 400 billion euro question: How real is the recovery?

Friday 16 August 2013, 17:04

Dominic Laurie Dominic Laurie Reporter, 5 live Money

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This week on BBC Radio 5 live we’re travelling to five Eurozone countries in five days, reporting on the state of the European economy. There have been recent good news headlines saying the economy is growing, but I want to know whether this change is real. Is it benefiting the public - not just companies, markets and governments?

So, from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd producer Sean Farrington and I are reporting from Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Cyprus - the four countries whose governments have received bailout loans from the international community - ending in Germany, which bankrolls much of the aid.

I’ll be asking: Has the worm turned in Europe? Are the bailouts working? Is this genuine recovery? The economy of the 17 countries that use the currency, when taken together, is no longer contracting. Unemployment stabilised in June. Consumer confidence is up, as is industrial production.

We'll report from Faro, Portugal on Monday; Dublin, Ireland on Tuesday; the port of Piraeus near Athens in Greece on Wednesday; Nicosia in Cyprus on Thursday; and Frankfurt in Germany (seat of the European central bank) on Friday.

Recovery is good news for us in the United Kingdom - the Eurozone block is our biggest trading partner - and you'd think good news for the people who live there too. But statistics can seem distant to the reality of those on the street. For many of us falling wages (when compared to the cost of living) can mask any benefit from the UK's economic recovery.

Day 1: Portugal:

In the last few days we learned that Portugal is now out of a long recession, but how real does that feel? Many young Portuguese looking for work have emigrated to the very colonies Portugal used to rule - Brazil, Angola, Mozambique. The terrible youth unemployment rates are an obstacle to a prosperous future for whole generation.

Day 2: Ireland:

I'm a bit more optimistic for Ireland. The housing market has finally hit bottom (prices are now rising again in many places). Not necessarily good news in itself, but it may make the banks and homeowners stuck in negative equity feel a bit more optimistic.

Day 3: Greece:

For Greece it’s a similar situation to Portugal. It was the first country to receive a bailout, and it got a second one too as well as a "hair cut" - a reduction in what its government owes its international creditors. The last time I went to Greece I saw drug users injecting heroin into their necks in broad daylight just yards from the Athens central bank. I hope things have got better, but recent conversations I’ve had make me fearful.

Day 4: Cyprus:

Cyprus is still in shock. Its bailout was only a few months ago and the effects on the banking system (a lack of credit) and consumer confidence, are only now becoming apparent.

Day 5: Germany:

The Germans are only a month away from a general election. The governing party is relieved at the recent good economic news. I'll tell them what their weaker fellow ‘Eurozonians’ tell me in the days beforehand. I spoke to the Deputy Finance Minister just a few days ago. He took the good news as vindication of the tough love policy of austerity.

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But maybe the election is all they care about for now, and the determination not to pile any more liabilities onto future German taxpayers will mean their resolve won't waver, publicly at least.

Listen on BBC Radio 5 live on the Drive programme from Monday 19th – Friday 23rd, between 16.00 and 19.00, and listen again to the highlights here.

Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    So, did anybody listen?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    Dear BBC,
    I live in Lisbon and have most of life, Faro are typical of some of Portugal but, The further into the Countryside you go like Beja, Serpa Moura, I could mention many, but my point is they are so poor, pharmacies with no medicine or people relying on the Red Cross for food, Yes people go to other country to find work, is bailout working, NO!!! Not for working class peoples or our children I am in your country working as Musician, am lucky, but am always sending money home to parents and family to help feed them...

  • rate this
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    Comment number 3.

    2005 ws as described by the G8 PEAK OIL, they also said that it was all down hill for world markets from there ! 2006/7 was the banks crash the rest is history .the gold standard has gone along with the gold that was in places like the fed and the bank of England ,this was replaced with paper gold .
    The drive for oil included the oil wars,we now have wars for resources ,corporate hedge funds took a big hit = domestic gas /electric and water prices are all shooting up , EEC rules are choking the system to death, The EU is in free fall,the master plan includes the American gateway into Europe ,with cheap set up and cheap labor =below minimum wage and no unions ,
    America is like a train wreck in slow motion ,Detroit is the example that will follow on all over America,world resources are running out And China is buying them up at an alarming rate .

    America started the total control systems we see today with their looker programs into our email computers and phones .
    With public expenditure being cut to the bone drones are now being used on the domestic front ,they are cheaper than humans and dont require a salary /medical/holiday /or a day off ,
    new vehicles are fitted with a total recall chipset that transmits all relevant information = GPS position speed,engine number ,vin,number plate , driver details ,= picture,criminal record, licences held inc gun ,plane ,helicopter ,known associates ,all communications =phones ,email ect .
    We have been delivered into a world of the super haves and the have nots ,its a brave new digital world !

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 4.

    There are lessons to be learnt ,as the systems start to crash, start find find out that zero hour contracts are the norm from buckinghan palace to top employers are using these contracts its a sign of the mad max society where there are no rules new vehicles are being fitted with chip sets that transmit tax insurance mot and banned driver details to roadside digital networks if you dont have any of the above it will auto flag up on the system and you will be pulled over !

    London leads the way with litter bins that scan your phones for information , bus stops /railway stations ,taxis and digital signs are all going over to scanner relay units ,as the systems crash so do your rights ,in their brave new digital world it will pay to get your skill sets up to maximise your adaptability to make and repair and modify things , you are going to need these skills in the not to distant future !

 
 

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