On April 20, The European Institute hosted Klaus Regling, Chief Executive of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) for a discussion on the European debt crisis. Created barely two years ago, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) has proven to be pivotal in the Eurozone’s efforts to safeguard financial stability and build a sustainable firewall to contain the effects of pressing sovereign debt among some member states. Mr. Regling assessed the progress made to date on Europe’s important reforms of economic and financial governance and the key challenges that still remain in achieving an effective resolution of the debt crisis. The discussion was moderated by Clay Lowery, Vice President of Rock Creek Global Advisors LLC.
On April 19, The European Institute, in cooperation with the Embassy of Latvia, welcomed Andris Vilks, Latvian Finance Minister, Ilmars Rimševics, Governor of the Bank of Latvia, and Jeffrey Baker, Director of the Office of Europe and Eurasia of the U.S. Treasury Department, to a roundtable breakfast discussion on Latvia’s economic recovery and its lessons. Emphasizing key qualities in their government’s approach, Mr. Vilks and Mr. Rimševics explained how these might be applied towards wider strategies involving other European nations in crisis. Mr. Baker singled the flexibility of its labor market as being instrumental to Latvia’s turnaround.
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.
© COPYRIGHT THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTE 2009
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