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The Proposed E.U. “Competitiveness Pact”

Dr. Periklis Gogas is an invited contributor to The Business Thinker magazine. He is Assistant Professor at Democritus University of Thrace, Greece, teaching Macroeconomics, Banking and Finance

The recent public debt crises in Greece and Ireland have put forward the issue of sustainable public debt in many of the developed industrialized countries. This crisis, like the mortgage crisis of 2008 and many other crises, stems from the extensive low cost flow of credit in recent years. Debt growth seemed harmless and innocent enough in an era of optimism, rising assets’ valuations and seemingly robust economic development. Unfortunately, for different inherent reasons, these debt bubbles started to burst for Greece and Ireland and the future looks gleam for many other heavily indebted countries in Europe, North America and Asia. The European Union, acting rather sluggishly, has, finally, put in place the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), a mechanism for dealing with bailouts of heavily indebted EU countries that are a threat to the economic stability of the Union and the Euro. As it is common for economic policy in the European Union, member states and the corresponding institutions that are responsible for designing it, act in panic or on undisclosed agendas. The last example is the proposed by France and Germany “competitiveness pact” that includes, among many others, increasing retirement age limits even for the countries that face no pension fund problems, setting minimum corporate tax rates across-the-board within member countries and applying constitutional provisions in all member states for implementing balanced budgets. These arrangements in the “competitiveness pact” may be problematic for two reasons: Continue reading The Proposed E.U. “Competitiveness Pact”