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The euro crisis: An ever-deeper democratic deficit. The Worst and the Best of Austerity - Jean Pisani-Ferry. Exit from comment view mode.

The Worst and the Best of Austerity - Jean Pisani-Ferry

Click to hide this space BRUSSELS – In June, it was Greece. In August, it was France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. In September, it was Greece again – and Spain. In November, France took another turn, before Italy again in December, this time in a major way. In other words, while all indicators point to a severe economic downturn in Europe, the eurozone’s current interest-rate spreads are provoking a shift to austerity. First, while indiscriminate austerity may be the only option for those eurozone countries that no longer have access to capital markets, others have more choice of policy options.

Restoring European Growth - Jim Leitner, Nuno Monteiro and Ian Shapiro. Exit from comment view mode.

Restoring European Growth - Jim Leitner, Nuno Monteiro and Ian Shapiro

Click to hide this space NEW YORK – Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis has rumbled on for so long that some people are beginning to take it for granted that eurozone leaders can continue to stumble from one non-solution to the next without risk of cataclysm. But if any troubled southern European economy fails to roll over its debt in the coming months, the resulting contagion will spread quickly from the eurozone throughout the global financial system, with consequences far more grave than what followed Lehman Brothers’ collapse in September 2008.

Despite the new agreement reached at the European Union’s summit in December, strengthening financial markets’ confidence in the eurozone remains an elusive goal. Stephen King: A thousand years on,an updated Silk Road will bypass the West - Stephen King - Business Comment. Yet, over the last few days, there was a surprising lack of big picture thinking.

Stephen King: A thousand years on,an updated Silk Road will bypass the West - Stephen King - Business Comment

Capturing the ECB - Joseph E. Stiglitz. Exit from comment view mode.

Capturing the ECB - Joseph E. Stiglitz

Click to hide this space NEW YORK – Nothing illustrates better the political crosscurrents, special interests, and shortsighted economics now at play in Europe than the debate over the restructuring of Greece’s sovereign debt. Germany insists on a deep restructuring – at least a 50% “haircut” for bondholders – whereas the European Central Bank insists that any debt restructuring must be voluntary. In the old days – think of the 1980’s Latin American debt crisis – one could get creditors, mostly large banks, in a small room, and hammer out a deal, aided by some cajoling, or even arm-twisting, by governments and regulators eager for things to go smoothly.

But, with the advent of debt securitization, creditors have become far more numerous, and include hedge funds and other investors over whom regulators and governments have little sway. The Road to Serfdom. A Financial Coup d'etat in the Making? Habermas, the Last European: A Philosopher's Mission to Save the EU - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International. Austerity and the End of the European Model.

A May Day demonstration in central Madrid.

Austerity and the End of the European Model

(Susana Vera / Courtesy Reuters) Since the onset of the European sovereign debt crisis in 2010, countries across the continent have responded by imposing fiscal austerity. From Greece to Ireland, governments have cut spending by double digits. Spain, which is in the midst of a recession and has an unemployment rate nearing 25 percent, slashed its budget by eight percent and plans to shrink its deficit by an additional 27 billion euros this year.

Even Germany, whose economy is considered the healthiest in Europe, has pledged to eliminate 80 billion euros in spending by 2014. It is unclear if these efforts will quell market contagion or stabilize European economies in the short term. Half of all Foreign Affairs content is now published online only. To continue reading, please log in. "The Crises of Summer" by Harold James. Exit from comment view mode.

"The Crises of Summer" by Harold James

Click to hide this space PRINCETON – Europe’s crisis is now poised at the moment that divides recovery and renewal from decline and death. Whereas a few weeks ago, commentators and financial analysts argued that only a few months remained to rescue Europe, leading politicians, lurching from summit to summit, have recently talked in terms of days. Summer crises are a familiar feature of European history – and of financial history. "A European New Deal" by Daniel Halberstam and Miguel P. Maduro.

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"A European New Deal" by Daniel Halberstam and Miguel P. Maduro

Click to hide this space FLORENCE/ANN ARBOR – The eurozone has reached a crossroads. European policy prescriptions have proven inadequate, and there is no consensus on the right balance of fiscal consolidation and economic stimulus – or on how much fiscal solidarity a functioning monetary union requires. Disagreement over Eurobonds exemplifies the European Union’s current dilemma. Overstretched sovereign borrowers on the eurozone periphery argue that issuing government securities backed by all eurozone countries is the only way out of their “debt trap.”