La obsesión de competitividad de Europa

BRUSELAS – Se dice que el presidente del Banco Central Europeo muestra en todas las reuniones una gráfica que presenta la evolución de los costos relativos de los salarios en los 16 países miembros de la zona euro. En esta gráfica se observan divergencias en aumento en los diez últimos años, en los que los países que ahora se enfrentan a dificultades (Grecia, Portugal y España) han perdido competitividad en alrededor de un 20% con respecto a Alemania. En otras palabras, desde 1999, los costos salariales han aumentado cerca de un 20% menos en Alemania que en el sur de Europa.

La conclusión parece obvia. Los miembros del sur de Europa de la zona euro tienen que reducir sus costos salariales para recuperar la competitividad que han perdido desde que adoptaron la moneda común.

Las inquietudes por dichas divergencias también han llegado al grupo de trabajo encabezado por el presidente de la Unión Europea, Herman Van Rompuy, quien se supone debe elaborar reformas fundamentales a las normas de coordinación de las políticas económicas de la UE. Una propuesta clave de la primera reunión del grupo de trabajo fue el desarrollo de indicadores de competitividad, y después obligar a los países miembros a tomar “medidas correctivas” si la UE observa divergencias importantes.

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