Dr. George Pagoulatos is Professor of European Politics and Economy at Athens University of Economics & Business. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of ELIAMEP (Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy).
This article posted here by permission of the author. Also, it is published in the Social Europe Journal
It is impossible to meaningfully address Europe’s social challenges for the present, medium and longer term without addressing the central challenge of economic growth. We are now in a situation where adverse longer-term trends are nested in a highly unfavourable current and medium-term economic environment.
What are the longer-term dynamics? Over the next few decades, economic growth will be slowing down in the developed economies of the EU. Ageing, rising health and pension costs, the cost of cleaning up the environment, in advanced, service-based economies that are inherently not prone to high rates of growth; such macro-trends will be negatively affecting longer-term economic growth, unless reversed. In addition, following the 2008 crash, the financial sector is not likely to become again a driver of growth as it did in the fast-growth episodes up to 2008. There will perhaps be fewer unsustainable bubbles, but also less growth.