Consumers in full retreat as Europe bows to austerity
The politicians squabble about national interest while the union they designed starts to creak, writes Jody Corcoran
In Europe they talk of little else. Austerity alone is still the order of the day: France, Spain and Italy are to follow the lead of Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Before long, the Continent will be a wasteland.
Last year, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a €10bn austerity package, essential, it was said, to "maintain" the confidence of the financial markets.
At the time, his government was predicting an economic growth rate of a relatively modest two per cent this year followed by 2.25 per cent next year.