The strong improvement in the overall indicator since 2012 is not only due to the recent economic upswing, but also in particular to the crisis-related structural reforms of the labor and product markets in the former programme countries. Macroeconomic imbalances have been reduced and, above all, the internal adjustment mechanisms of the monetary union have been strengthened in the long term by higher wage and price flexibility. This should also increase the convergence of key macroeconomic variables, which is the most important prerequisite for a stable currency area. The Euro Monitor data supports this thesis. After the harsh setbacks in the crisis years, the economic rapprochement of the EMU members has intensified again. Although the development of the individual indicators was not uniform, according to our calculations the economic divergence between the national economies is even lower today than it was before the crisis.
However, in view of the remaining imbalances, such as the high public debt burden and high unemployment rates in many EMU member states, the clean-up process has not yet been completed. In the subdivision of indicators into longer-term levels and progress parameters, measuring progress in reducing weaknesses, it is clear that the level indicator 2017 alone contributed to the improvement of the overall indicator, while the progress indicator stagnated. The reasons for this are not only the economic upswing, but also the declining crisis mood and the ECB's expansionary monetary policy.