A Bright Future for Britain?

brightSelon une étude récente publiée par le Daily Telegraph, le Royaume-Uni dépassera la France et l’Allemagne à l’horizon 2030 en devenant la première puissance économique européenne. En effet, l’annonce d’un futur britannique radieux va de pair avec les signes encourageants d’un redressement économique comme l’augmentation du PIB en 2013 (+ 1,4 % selon le gouvernement). S’agit-il d’une prévision réaliste ? 

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Great Britain is on its way to becoming the richest country in Europe, given that the economy of the rest of Europe is on the decline. According to the current trends, the United Kingdom will soon be Europe’s second largest economy, after leaving Italy and France far behind, and will end up outpacing Germany too. And it matters. As the major economy in the region, the United Kingdom will have more political weight, will attract more migrants and investments, and the London Stock Exchange will receive the push it needs.

Britons have got used to being pessimistic about the performance of their economy. Yet, it is true that there have been a couple of positive signs: the country seems to have turned the page of the recession and the manufacturing sector is demonstrating some signs of life. But, in general, there is not much to celebrate: the economy is still not doing as well as in 2008, the deficit does not seem to be under control and an important devaluation of the pound has not managed to revive the industry. That can hardly be called a success…

Economic performance is always relative. The economy scarcely grows more than 1% a year and it might go on like that for years – there is no sign of sudden acceleration of growth – but in the rest of Europe it is even worse: the Euro crisis plunged the continent into constant depression. If the rest of Europe stagnates or declines, the United Kingdom will keep growing comparatively.

The main question is whether or not the United Kingdom will overtake Germany, which has long been Europe’s number one economy. Today Germany has a GDP of 3.6 trillion dollars, which is 50 per cent more than in the United Kingdom.

The consequences of such a change will be enormous. The United Kingdom will turn into a magnet for migrants because the people gravitate towards the biggest and richest economy in any region and, in Europe, this region will be the United Kingdom. It will attract investments because companies put their money in the major markets and will give the country a much more powerful voice in shaping European policy.

So there are not many reasons to feel enthusiastic about the British economy but – in a continent facing permanent depression – the country will be a shining star in economic performance over the next two decades, at least with regard to its neighbours and even the rest of the world.

Mélina FRIZON & Emilie REMOND

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