The introduction of the euro in 1999, it was claimed, would narrow the economic differences between the member countries of the monetary union. Unemployment rates would converge, as would other important macroeconomic variables, such as unit labour costs, productivity, and fiscal deficits and government debt. Ultimately, the differences in wealth, measured in terms of income per capita, would diminish as well.
After the common currency’s first decade, however, increased divergence, rather than rapid convergence, has become the norm within the euro area, and tensions can be expected to increase further.
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