Greece: A European challenge
Greece has made a habit of feuding with its neighbors and flouting the European Union’s rules. Yet a peculiar double standard seems to apply to the country. Unfortunately, Europe’s toleration of Greek misbehavior will only prolong the suffering of its people from corruption and poor governance.
The consequences of prolonged low interest rates in Europe
Monetary policymakers are becoming preoccupied with the risks of persistently low interest rates to Europe’s still fragile economic recovery. Ultra-easy credit is creating growing economic distortions and asset bubbles, while reviving volatility and risk in financial markets. The European Central Bank realizes it must “normalize” rates, but it worries that sudden tightening could precipitate a financial crisis that could be as bad or worse than 2008-2009.
Options for European defense
After three decades of continuous decline, European defense budgets are again on the rise. What kind of military capabilities will these investments provide? Money will only go so far without the right strategic choices.
Opinion: Europe’s misguided tax crusade
While the United States cuts taxes to spur growth, the European Union is blacklisting countries regarded as threats its fiscal system. The contrast speaks volumes about the economic priorities on both sides, and does not bode well for the long-term viability of Europe’s welfare states.
The specter haunting Europe
The populist wave spreading across Europe is rooted in deep-seated grievances – globalization, falling real incomes, unemployment, torn safety nets – that have been channeled into anger against migrants. Instead of engaging with these real problems, establishment politicians have preferred to insult voters. This is not a winning strategy.
2018 Global Outlook: The Euro-Atlantic relationship
The transatlantic relationship can be described as a family matter – with the United States as the mostly benevolent patriarch and Europe as the dependent relatives. Relations had been cooling for at least a decade, but this process is being expedited by the presidency of Donald Trump. Both sides seem to agree that Europe needs to grow up and take charge of its own destiny. If so, we could be headed for a stormy late adolescence.
Increased electricity usage could derail EU energy targets
The digitization and electrification of the transport and heating sectors, as well as the robotics revolution in industry, have many excited about conserving energy and improving efficiency. But those hopes may be ill-placed: all those factors point toward increased electricity usage in Europe in the years to come. That could mean the EU's energy policies for the next couple of decades overly optimistic, if not entirely unrealistic.
Opinion: Mario Centeno’s useful ambiguities
New Eurogroup Chairman Mario Centeno is known as a socialist, but despite his “anti-austerity” reputation, he slashed government spending and deficits while he was finance minister of Portugal. This earned him trust on both sides of the fiscal policy divide, and will allow him either to keep the Eurogroup as a low-profile talking shop, or to help it raise its stature to eurozone policymaking body.
2018 Global Outlook: Another challenging year for Europe
The European Union is facing internal and external challenges that will continue to test its leadership in 2018. Politicians will struggle to agree on a reform agenda for the union against a background of tepid economic growth, Brexit, the migrant drama, geopolitical realignments, a rethinking of the international role of the United States, technology-driven economic dislocations, secessionist movements, and many other problems. Europe’s outlook is not entirely gloomy, however.