Greece and Germany are on opposite sides of more than debt negotiations

A difficult struggle.
A difficult struggle.
Image: Reuters/Thomas Bohlen
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

While Greece totters on the edge of a sovereign default, Germany’s sitting pretty.

May unemployment numbers for the euro zone (pdf) are in and it’s becoming increasingly clear that the two countries exist in two totally different economic contexts. Germany has the lowest unemployment rate in the euro zone, 4.7%, while Greece has the highest at 25.6%. Greece reports its rate on a longer lag than Germany, but it’s a fair assumption that it will stay the highest since it hasn’t fallen below 25% in nearly three years. The next highest jobless rate is Spain’s, which sits more than three percentage points lower at 22.5%.

While Germany came out of the financial crisis with fairly robust growth that has put its economy in a great place to take advantage of the weak euro, Greece was dealing with austerity and debt crisis after debt crisis that made it much harder to get things moving. It’s hard to miss the irony in German companies buying up more Greek firms than anyone else, while the German government stands in the way (paywall) of another Greek bailout.