Bruegel has just published an enlightening chart. Based on IMF data, the economic think tank provides us with a clear picture of how trade within the EU and trade within the Eurozone have evolved since 1980 and more particularly, how they have reacted to the crisis. The conclusion is that there is a negligible divergence between the Euro Area and the European Union.
What is also worth noting is the sharp decline in intra-EU trade (less so in intra-Eurozone trade) over the past 4 years, clearly as a consequence of the global financial crisis that has forces member states to increase their trade with outside the EU – i.e. with global trading partners. The same phenomenon can be seen after the 1990 crisis. What’s more interesting, however, is the fact that the Eurozone – in spite of one of the objectives of creating an optimal currency area being an increase in trade between its member states – has been following nearly the exact same pattern as the European Union.