A 'Rehn of Terror' in Europe? Not really, say leading economists

Nikos Chrysoloras, Kathimerini (Greek newspaper), 03.03.2013

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Despite the result of the elections in Italy, the rise of anti-European political forces across the continent, surging unemployment (11.9 percent in January according to Eurostat), and the continuing recession, the eurozone's fiscal policy is unlikely to change in the following months, according to reliable Brussels sources. “Deficits and rising debt are a hurdle to growth, they do not facilitate growth,” an EU Council official told reporters in Brussels, ahead of this Monday’s Eurogroup meeting. […]

Janis Emmanouilidis, senior analyst at the European Policy Centre (EPC) in Brussels, tells Kathimerini that both sides of the argument have their merits: “Yes, the voices of criticism are increasing. But even if it sounds strange, I think that both sides are right or, rather, have strong arguments. One cannot go either ways – 'austerity' or growth-enhancing measures, which at the end of the day cost money. The 'right' recipe – as is so often the case – lies somewhere in between, and one needs to find the right balance at a given time – which, by the way, also means that one needs to learn from one's mistakes. Under the present circumstances, there is a need to provide for more time and a need to somehow [socially] cushion the measures taken. The Italian vote has inter alia shown the need to do so. But one cannot abandon the policy of cutting down public deficits/debts, because that would [also] undermine regained confidence.” […]

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