Striking the right balance? An uneventful summit despite mounting socio-political uncertainties

Janis A. Emmanouilidis

Post-Summit Analysis

Brussels 03/2013

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It was not a summit that will enter the EU’s history books, and there were no new concrete additional measures to counter low economic growth and high (youth) unemployment. But the 14-15 March European Council did send out a subtle message that EU leaders – concerned about the risks of political and social instability in countries hardest hit by the euro crisis – appear increasingly ready to give struggling EU governments more time to implement fiscal consolidation and structural reforms, provided they remain firmly committed to those objectives.

No major breakthroughs or new initiatives to respond to the crisis seem likely this year, but while optimism about the euro’s future has increased significantly and everyone is awaiting the results of federal elections in Germany, there is no room for complacency. Policy-makers at EU and national level will have to intensify their efforts to cushion the negative effects of a persistent recession to avoid a potential socio-political explosion in one or other Member State, with incalculable consequences for the entire EU/euro zone, argues Janis A. Emmanouilidis in this analysis of the outcome of the European Council and the challenges that lie ahead.

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