Cosa impedisce all’Europa di agire?

PITTSBURGH – Durante una visita recente in Grecia, il Presidente francese François Hollande ha dichiarato che il declino dell’Europa è giunto al termine e ha incoraggiato le aziende francesi ad investire in Grecia. Pessimo consiglio. E’ vero che i costi di produzione in Francia sono elevati, ma quelli della Grecia sono persino più alti. Inoltre, nonostante il consistente declino del PIL reale greco (e di quello italiano e spagnolo) sin dal 2007, il processo d’aggiustamento è ben lontano dall’essere completato.

In effetti, ci si troverebbe in seria difficoltà a dover concordare con l’affermazione di Hollande in qualunque parte d’Europa. Prima delle recenti elezioni in Italia, i mercati finanziari mostravano qualche segnale di ottimismo, incoraggiati da una politica della Banca Centrale Europea finalizzata a garantire il debito sovrano dei membri dell’eurozona, ad espandere il suo bilancio e ad abbassare i tassi d’interesse. Gli obbligazionisti guadagnano infatti quando i tassi di interesse si abbassano. Ma la disoccupazione continua a crescere nei paesi del sud dell’Europa già pesantemente indebitati, mentre la produzione continua a rimanere indietro rispetto alla Germania e ad altri paesi del nord Europa.

La ragione principale per questo ritardo non è semplicemente dovuta ad una riduzione della domanda o al debito consistente. C’è in realtà un’enorme differenza tra i costi del lavoro per unità di prodotto (stipendi reali aggiustati in base alla produttività) della Germania e dei paesi del sud dell’Europa altamente indebitati. All’inizio della crisi, i costi di produzione in Grecia erano più elevati di circa il 30% rispetto alla Germania, il che ha portato la Grecia a ridurre drasticamente le esportazioni e ad aumentare le importazioni. In altri paesi altamente indebitati i costi di produzione risultavano invece superiori del 20-25% rispetto a quelli della Germania.

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