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A man removes stickers pasted on a shop window during Wednesday's general strike, in downtown Madrid November 15, 2012. Spain sank deeper into recession in the third quarter, as a brutal austerity programme hammered public spending and weak domestic demand piles pressure on the country to seek international aid. Demonstrations in Spain and Portugal turned violent after millions took part in a mostly peaceful general strike on Wednesday in organised labour's biggest Europe-wide challenge to austerity policies since the debt crisis began three years ago. The graffiti reads, “14 N General Strike.”
A man removes stickers pasted on a shop window during Wednesday's general strike, in downtown Madrid November 15, 2012. Spain sank deeper into recession in the third quarter, as a brutal austerity programme hammered public spending and weak domestic demand piles pressure on the country to seek international aid. Demonstrations in Spain and Portugal turned violent after millions took part in a mostly peaceful general strike on Wednesday in organised labour's biggest Europe-wide challenge to austerity policies since the debt crisis began three years ago. The graffiti reads, “14 N General Strike.”
(Andrea Comas/Reuters)

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Euro zone not drowning but waving

For a minute, forget about debts, deficits and the desires of financial markets. Just think about the real economy of labour and consumption. From this perspective, the euro zone doesn’t look too bad. The 11.6 per cent unemployment rate is high, but GDP is just 2 per cent below the all-time peak reached in the first quarter of 2008. The trend is flat: GDP was an imperceptible 0.1 per cent lower in the third quarter than in the second.