The European Central Bank (ECB) has released a new “economic bulletin” in which it said Rome and Madrid ”have not yet shown a complete recovery” from the economic crisis that almost brought them to their knees a decade ago.
In these southern European nations, the real income from employees still «remain significantly lower than before the crisis due to the wage moderation induced by the crisis and unemployment remained at high levels”, the report read.
Yet, the report added, Rome and Madrid have been “trying to increase income and consumption levels”.
In fact, in the last five years, the most vigorous growth recorded in the whole eurozone has been observed in Spain.
But Madrid didn’t raise the levels of consumption and income high enough for the Bank to classify it as “recovered” from the crisis.
On the other hand, in its economic bulletin the ECB praised Germany and France, whose income and consumption levels went some 10 percent above the pre-crisis ones.
The bulletin also said since 2013, «all countries have seen a clear trend marked by expansion”.
But the eurozone has recently recorded a slowdown in the growth of its gross domestic product (GDP) that sparked panic in Brussels.
Between the first and second quarter of 2018, the area has increased of just 0.3 percent.
This growth is not only weaker than forecasted but represents the lowest figure since the second quarter of 2016.
This slowdown comes weeks after the ECB announced it would end the helping measures it took following the 2008 financial crisis.
Last June, the central bank said it would cut the bonds it bus each months under the crisis-support programme from £26.70bn (€30bn) to £13.35bn (€15bn), before calling time on the programme at the end of the year.
But despite the slowdown, the report showed the Bank “expected that the strong and generalised growth of the eurozone will continue».
Economic indicators, according to the economic bulletin, still remain at «very high» levels, although they have «weakened in the first half of the current year”.
This, the report continued, “indicates overall the continuation of robust economic growth in the second and third quarter of the year».
(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)