Frailty, thy name is Europe
The EU is in profound crisis, caused by years of shallow leadership. Only a radical change in its leaders’ performance can salvage the European project now. Managing structural problems instead of resolving them, trying to shame the rebellious public into accepting business as usual and blaming the United States for Europe’s dangerously weak security position is a road to self-destruction.
The twilight of a European dream
As Washington threatens to slap economic sanctions on the countries that it believes weaken their currencies, reaping unfair advantages in trade with the United States, eurozone exporters, especially Germany, may find themselves in trouble. The root cause of the dilemma, though, is the fact that from its inception the common currency has been misused by politicians.
25 years after Maastricht, the euro is worth rescuing
It was Brussels’ misguided political agenda of an “ever-closer union” and economic “harmonization” that brought the euro into its current trouble. The common currency is worth salvaging. It can work fine and be of great benefit to the European community if put on sound macroeconomic and institutional footing.
EU’s Schengen area under threat
The future of the Schengen area, one of the crowning achievements of European integration, is increasingly clouded as European Union member states are imposing temporary border restrictions to stave off perceived security threats from migrants and terrorists. The economic cost of dropping Schengen could be debilitating, but the path to a full return of the control-free zone is strewn with formidable obstacles.
Loose monetary policy could be on its way out
In March, the United States Federal Reserve kept its main interest rate on hold, while the European Central Bank cut its main interest rate to zero. The moves confirmed what investors already knew: the American and European economies still have plenty of weaknesses. But despite appearances, the Fed and the ECB are on track to end their expansionary monetary policie...
Euro crisis: time for a rerun?
After Greece obtained its third bailout last summer, Europe turned its attention to other crises. But it would be naive to conclude that the sovereign debt crisis is over. The Greek drama is still far from a happy ending; in Portugal and Spain, fragile left-wing governments may want to abandon austerity and roll back reforms; France has declared a state of economic...
Exchange rates: a race to the bottom
Trying to predict how exchange rates will evolve during the rest of the year is a futile exercise. For different reasons, the world’s major central banks are all doing their best to weaken their own currencies. Summary <i>In the United States, the Federal Reserve is having second thoughts about resetting ...
Yuan’s slow rise could mean trouble for Western economies
At the end of November, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that from October 2016 the Chinese yuan will be part of the basket of currencies that defines the Special Drawing Right (SDR), the accounting unit the organisation uses to carry out financial operations. The immediate practical effects will be minor. Being part of a unit of account means all bu...
Matteo Renzi fails to grasp Italy’s economic woes
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is losing popularity as he fails to understand how to tackle Italy’s growing economic problems. His promises of a new reform every month have been forgotten as he decides whether to cut a deal with other politicians or bet on winning a general election. Italy faces default or swingeing tax rises. ...