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.