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Statistics Show Bailout Countries’ Slide Away from EU Targets

Stevis, M., (2013), “Statistics Show Bailout Countries’ Slide Away from EU Targets”, The Wall Street Journal, 29 October.

Euro-zone countries in bailout programs have slipped away from the European Union’s targets for economic and social performance, a number of detailed statistical indicators show.

The backtracking was made evident Tuesday when Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, presented aggregated data on a set of goals that form Europe’s 2020 Strategy. The program is meant to push EU member states toward predefined targets such as social and economic performance, education participation and energy consumption.

For the euro-zone countries with bailout programs, the most striking indicator is the one capturing the percentage of the population at “risk of poverty or social exclusion”. Greece, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus have all seen the percentage of their population in this category increase since Europe’s financial crisis kicked off in 2008.  Only Portugal has seen a slight improvement since 2008, but the numbers at risk increased again last year and remain above the EU average of 25%.

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