Fire and ice on Europe's debt march

Europe’s average debt to GDP ratio is shrinking but the closer details are devilish. And hardly anyone’s playing by agreed EU Stability and Growth Pact rules anymore.

For those eternal optimists always looking for green shoots in the eurozone crisis, Europe’s statistics authority Eurostat had a pleasant surprise this week. For 2012, the government deficit for the combined eurozone fell to 3.7 per cent of GDP from 4.2 per cent the previous year.

So clearly, austerity policies are working and it must surely only be a matter of time until the European Union gets its house in order again to leave the nasty eurozone crisis behind, right?

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