Friday, 14 October 2016

It's the European economy stupid (What Europe needs Part II)!

Does Bill Clinton aide's old motto apply in Europe as well?
Of course it does.

The EU28's growth performance has not been too bad in recent years. But they could have been better and Draghi is trying to his part with ultra low central Euro rates by the ECB.

Unemployment averages are between 10.1% (for the Eurozone) and 8.5% (for the whole of the EU). But rates vary a lot among the member states.

I propose that people are not satisfied with the current economic situation.

For example:

They want better salaries, more and better clients in addition to better public services. Public finances in many member states have been tightened for years now. Belgium, running a 2.8% deficit, is the most recent country with a government in crisis. The Spanish have for months now been trying to form a new government, after two elections.

UKIP, Front National, AfD, The 5 star movement and PVV are among the Eurosceptic parties in Europe that are doing well.

Many citizens complain that their taxes or social contributions are being used to fund the poor, migrants, non EU and intra EU, as well as other member states (eg the Greeks).

Many complain that migrants, non EU and intra EU, are taking their jobs and/or keeping salaries low.

Members states complain that others (eg Ireland) are offering too low tax rates and take business away from them.

Citizens and member states complain that they are paying too much towards the EU budget and financing public works in other member states.

A Eurocrat friend who read my analysis that the UK is going lose the Single Market for just 800,000 EU foreigners' jobs told me, privately, "let them lose it for not knowing what teamwork is about". It is true that British governments have not displayed much EU team spirit neither have many UK citizens.

But what is to be said of the 98% of 42% of Hungarian voters who turned up at the polls and rejected the EU refugee plan?

Or of some Germans and Dutch tourists who have refused to pay restaurant bills in Greece or at Greek restaurants in their own countries claiming "you owe us money".

Do these kinds of things happen in the US? Maybe they do, but not that we know of.

But how are EU citizens who have the types of complaints listed above going to accept "more Europe"? Is it possible?

I argue that if the EU was growing by let's say 4 or 5% or of course more per year, many would.  Of course many would still be concerned about "directives from Brussels" but less.
 
If the EU was making everyone effectively better off, they would be more pro EU. When the pie is small people argue for the pieces.

So far, what the EU leaders have called for is more Europe in defense matters. Who dares talk of an EU tax system or an EU social security system, for example.

The EU has a common trade policy but most people do not pay much attention to that (some do, eg about the EU-US deal).

So how is the EU going to make more money for all?

The EU spends money on regional policy, training, even has a fund for helping people who lose their jobs, but that is not what we mean.


Tomorrow: Ways the EU can make more money for all


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