A major World Bank study, published this month, lauds the European Union as an extraordinary economic success story and concludes that the current turmoil, far from being a terminal failure, should be the trigger for reforms to improve the community’s weak points. The thorough, richly documented analysis provides a strong antidote to prevailing prescriptions of the euro’s impending doom. Such euro-pessimism has prevailed in recent years, as the Eurozone has struggled to address bouts of mismanagement and muddled leadership within its ranks. Deep flaws within the monetary union were exposed, along with the resulting structural imbalances in the system, when the global financial storm broke over the continent nearly five years age.
In the most important Italian political development since the departure of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, opposition leader Umberto Bossi, head of Italy’s Northern League party, was forced to resign from his position in a scandal involving illicit handling of party funds.
Greece has had to bear the brunt of not only economic hardship but also relentless international criticism that the nation has a bloated public sector and an unsustainable social welfare system and is also beset by rampant systematic corruption and tax evasion.
On February 13, 2012, The European Institute hosted a breakfast discussion of The World Bank’s recently released assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of European economies. Indermit Gill, Chief Economist for Europe and Central Asia at the World Bank, outlined the major findings of the compelling report: “Golden Growth: Restoring the Lustre of the European Economic Model” (available here). A panel discussion followed with Antonio de Lecea, Minister and Principal Advisor at the Delegation of the European Union; Nicolas Véron, Senior Fellow at Bruegel and Visiting Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics; and Dr. Angel Ubide, Director of Global Economics at Tudor Investment Corporation and Visiting Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
After weeks of agonizing negotiations among Greek government officials, private lenders and other international creditors, the governing coalition in Athens has finally given approval to the latest round of austerity measures in order to receive a second bail-out – in time to meet its deadline for preventing a messy and potentially contagious default on its national debt in March.
© COPYRIGHT THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTE 2009
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