The economic gap between France and Germany seems to be even more pronounced at the end of 2016. A new imbalance at the european level ?
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The economies of france and germany do not walk decidedly not the same. The national Institute of statistics and economic studies (Insee) confirmed on Friday 23 December, the slight recovery of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter (+ 0.2 percent). For the full year 2016, forecasters expect growth of 1.2 %, identical to that of 2015. During this time, the German economy continues to make sparks. The european Commission anticipates a GDP growth in germany of almost 2 % in 2016, which is its highest growth rate in the past five years. What is widening the gap between the performance of the two countries.
” It is undeniable that, since the crisis, the balance of power between France and Germany has slipped irretrievably in favour of this last “, noted economist Anne-Laure Delatte, in charge of research at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and professor at Sciences Po. On the eve of the introduction of the euro in 1999 for financial transactions, ” she says, the economies of the two countries looked the same again. With an opening up to foreign trade substantially the same, a quarter of the GDP of each side of the Rhine. Between 1992 and 2006, France had surpassed Germany with an average annual growth of GDP of 1.9 %, versus 1.5 %.
A decade later, Germany has recovered its competitiveness and distanced. The economy is driven by exports, which now represent half of its GDP. For its part, the unemployment rate has decreased since 2009, amounted to 5.7% in 2016, its lowest level since the reunification. France did the opposite with unemployment constantly on the rise since the crisis, now up to 9.5% in metropolitan france. Another figure of concern, the public debt in French, even if it has decreased by 0.9 point, is still 97.6% of the GDP.
A finding that tempers Rémi Lallement, economist for France Strategy. For him, the gap between the two countries could well tighten in the years to come :
” The international monetary Fund [IMF] estimated in October that the growth rate of French GDP could exceed that of Germany from 2018. in The demographic decline of the country, despite the recent influx of migrants, will weigh on its long-term economic potential. “
The macroeconomic imbalance in favour of Germany is reduced already for two years. Even late, the unemployment rate of france has started its decrease, and the trade deficit has been falling since 2011, despite a relapse in 2016.
The power relationship between the two countries is also less unbalanced as it seems on the macro level. It’s all a matter of negotiation. For example, ” Germany closes its eyes to the fiscal difficulties of France, finds Ansgar Belke, professor of economics at the university of Duisburg-Essen (Germany) and researcher at the Centre for european policy studies CEPS, Brussels. the In consideration of the abandonment by France of its support for the european Fund of guarantee of deposits. “This third pillar of the banking union, rejected by Berlin, is supposed to protect a part of the wealth of depositors and prevent massive withdrawals in the event of bankruptcy of their bank.
France and Germany continue to ” play a constructive role in summarizing a certain way, the contradictions and differences that there may be inside of Europe “, analysis Jean Pisani-Ferry, general commissioner of the France Strategy. Moreover, the maintenance of the franco-German couple is at the heart of the european discourse of most of the candidates to the presidency of the Republic. The champion of the right, François Fillon, has dedicated his first international release, 14 December, to a short interview with Angela Merkel.
This dialogue is almost exclusively between the two main members of the euro area is obviously not to the taste of the other Europeans, particularly those of the South, condemned to the bitter pill of the excessive deficit procedure. For Ansger Belke, this is not so much the gap between France and Germany, which represents the greatest danger to the european co-operation but rather the fact that their close relationship is free sometimes rules imposed on other partners of the zone. Two weights, two measures.