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Lessons learnt from the EU crisis: looking forward

This article was featured as part of ESSA’s annual Equilibrium publication.
The EU crisis has been painful for EU citizens and policy-makers alike. However, it’s not necessarily all bad news. With a long-term outlook, it is possible that the Eurozone could be stronger for the crisis. More specifically, the crisis has exposed the need for stricter adherence to Eurozone membership requirements and ongoing policy management focused on maintaining economic growth.

Read moreLessons learnt from the EU crisis: looking forward

Youth unemployment in the EU

Hysteresis in the periphery
Recently, financial markets around the world have undergone a sharp correction in response to fears of an eventual tapering in the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing program. The reaction was spurred by Ben Bernake’s, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, comments to the press that QE will be slowed if unemployment falls to 7% and inflation remains within their target. Cautiously this may be sooner than expected as the US economy is beginning to show sustained periods of healthy increases in employment growth.
However, the same cannot be said for the European Union. GDP in countries in the periphery continues to decline, with Italy suffering a 2.4% decline and Greece a 5.6% decline in the first quarter of 2013. Alarmingly it’s Italy’s worst recession in 20 years. With this persistently poor performance, comes the danger of hysteresis.

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The Euro Crisis (Continued): Time to make a choice?

It is now July 2012, almost three years since the chain of events that set in motion what is now called the Euro Crisis and surprisingly enough, the world is still waist deep in the middle of it. In my previous article I attempted to diagnose what was causing the breakup and why there was so little action taken, and regardless of whether it was for those reasons, just from looking at the EUR/AUD exchange rate it’s easy to see that the situation has been deteriorating continuously ever since the end of the global financial crisis and despite several attempts to change things, it has not really improved.

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Achilles and Cheiron

The Greek Epic

The Greek tragedy began with its declining competitiveness in the early 2000’s. Simply put, they were producing far less than they were consuming. Many factors lead to this including their adoption of the Euro (see Hungy’s article here). Some have pointed out the irony of too much Democracy from the people who invented it: pensions rose, retirement age lowered, and public sector salaries increased. This explanation has formed the view of the Greek people as lazy and unproductive, a label which is misinformed.

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The Euro Crisis: Why Greece is broke but Germany won't do anything about it

Source: Dirk Vorderstraße

Anyone reading the news lately would’ve surely caught on that something is amiss in Europe: The so called ‘PIGS’ (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain), and especially the Greeks have been on the edge of default for months, causing  rumours that the Euro may be headed to the scrap heap.  If any of you still remember, the Euro was introduced with great fanfare nearly ten years ago which was supposed to promote closer ties both politically and economically for the EU members in the Euro-zone (The sub-group in the EU that uses the Euro as their currency).  So why then, has the Euro’s health deteriorated to such a sickly state?

Read moreThe Euro Crisis: Why Greece is broke but Germany won't do anything about it