Sunday, November 23, 2014
Financial pundits in the USA talk only of how there's danger of EU falling into a financial crisis which would equal or surpass the one in the 1930s but they seldom if ever talk of something similar happening in North America too. Is it a matter of seeing the speck in the other person's eye but never in one's own? Are we going to be lucky enough to avoid the mess that's coming to the EU?
Paul Taylor writing at Reuters:
The countdown has begun to what threatens to be a missed opportunity to revive Europe's stalled economy.
When European Union leaders meet on Dec. 18-19 under new management, they have a chance to launch a joint assault on the economic stagnation and high unemployment that are fuelling disenchantment and anti-EU protest among voters.
All the signs are they are set to fall short.
The 18-nation euro zone is struggling to pull out of the aftermath of its debt crisis, aggravated by the economic impact of a standoff with Russia over Ukraine.
Inflation and growth are hovering below 1 percent while unemployment is stuck at 11.5 percent, and more than double that level in Spain and Greece. Even EU powerhouse Germany has hit a slowdown.
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers says Europe risks "secular stagnation" - a long-term, self-perpetuating slump similar to the one that followed the Great Depression in the 1930s.
France's economy is flat lining, Italy's has fallen back into recession and both countries are failing to cut their budget deficits and debt in line with EU rules, causing tension with Brussels and Berlin.
"Without jobs and growth, the European idea itself is in danger," outgoing European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said last week. His successor, Poland's Donald Tusk, will have the task of trying to forge a summit agreement on a new economic policy mix.....