"Excessive austerity has seen much of Europe mired in depression. In spite of swingeing spending cuts and tax rises, debt is increasing. The crisis of the euro may be over, in the sense that the existential threat to the currency has been lifted. But the crisis within the euro is extinguishing political consent for European integration. The continent badly needs to reset its course. The answer is not a new fiscal splurge. (...) True, Germany is not about to sanction a big stimulus in peripheral eurozone nations; Chancellor Angela Merkel will keep a firm grip on her cheque book before and after the German election in September. That said, German policy has become more nuanced. The most closely watched statistics in Berlin are measures of competitiveness. Of course, you hear German officials say, Spain, Portugal and others must cut borrowing and debt. But the indicators that matter most are relative unit costs, productivity and exports. Here Germany acknowledges tangible progress."
Philip Stephens, "The New Deal for Europe: more reform, less austerity" (Financial Times [online], 25.4.2013).