Irish individuals were the biggest financial losers during the crash years

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Fresh data from the European Central Bank (ECB) shows that Irish people lost more personal wealth than any other nationality in the euro zone in the wake of the financial crisis.

The statistics which cover the period between 2009 and 2013 found that personal wealth per person in Ireland fell by €18,000.

In contrast to this, personal wealth in Germany increased by €33,000, while in the Dutch were €19,000 better off at the end of the period, as both countries avoided the worst of the downturn.

Greece and Spain were the other two countries who felt the full force of the recession, losing €17,000 and €13,000 respectively.

Unequal Union

This research highlights the different experiences that euro zone countries had during the economic crisis.

The period that these figures relate to ends before economic conditions began to improve in Ireland and Spain - and before the Greek economy almost collapsed as the country negotiated a new bailout deal with its international creditors.

Europe's current strategy to deal with the continued fallout of these four years is through quantitative easing. An unconventional economic tool which floods bond markets with freshly created money, to stimulate economic activity.

As this is a relatively new practise - it remains unclear what its longterm effects will be. Economists disagree over whether this money ever trickles down to individuals.

The one clear effect that it has had is to reduce the value of the euro relative to other currencies - making the euro zone more competitive.

Critics of the architecture of the single currency argue that in order for the euro to be a sustainable economic project, some form of wealth sharing must be introduced to counter imbalances in the union between strong industrial nations and countries with poorer resources and weaker economies.

This idea has been rejected by many politicians in northern Europe, including Germany - they argue that this would work as a disincentive for these countries to introduce economic reforms.

There is also new research out today examining the longterm effects that Ireland's banking crisis has had on children growing up here during those years.

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