Professor Francesco Daveri is a Professor of Economics at the University of Parma. He also teaches Macroeconomics in the MBA Program of Bocconi University in Milan, where he also taught Applied Growth in the Master in Economics and the PhD programme.
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Voters in France, Greece, Italy, and Germany rewarded politicians who opposed austerity. This column argues that attempts to fulfill campaign promises will run up against a hard constraint. The countries whose voters are calling for looser fiscal policies are those where public spending rose fastest since the birth of the euro. The only way out of today’s difficulties is to use the flexibility already in the fiscal compact and continue with bold implementation of the economic reforms that are under way.
Sunday 6 May 2012 was Europe’s “Super Sunday” of elections:
- The French presidential election gave the victory to Francois Hollande.
- Parliamentary elections have left Greece without a coalition capable of governing.
- There were local elections in Germany and Italy.
All these showed similar results.
With Europe in recession, voters rewarded those who oppose budget cuts. But the turnaround of budgetary policies advocated by the majority of voters runs up against an important constraint. The nations where voters demand lower taxes are those in which public spending has risen more in the last ten years. The only way out of today’s difficulties is the bold implementation of economic reforms. This has started in many countries, but it must continue.