In Italy, disposable income for the average household — essentially, take-home pay — shrank 4 percent from 2008 to 2014, according to European Union data. Over those years, Greek households lost 24 percent of their disposable income, and Cyprus suffered declines of 22 percent. At the same time, German households gained more than 15 percent.
So much time has passed with overall European fortunes frozen or even sliding backward that doubts pervade about the ability of the Continent to ever again achieve robust growth. In a place that is home to some of the world’s wealthiest countries — founts of precise German engineering, Italian luxur...
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