Illustration by David Simonds

The Economist: In contrast to the doom and gloom coming from Europe’s biggest firms,
many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are cautiously
optimistic. The main umbrella organisation for Germany’s more than 4m
SMEs predicts that its members’ sales will contract by only 2% this
year. The country’s renowned Mittelstand will therefore outperform the
economy as a whole, which the government expects to shrink by 6%.