Only strong economic growth will help Europe emerge from its crisis. The reforms implemented to date at national and European level have failed to impact the economy positively; this is due to excessive national, corporate, and private debts, weakness of the banking system, the lack of structural reforms, an insufficient institutional framework at European level, as well as a persisting climate of distrust in the stability of economic development. The probability of economic stagnation, characterized by high unemployment, declining incomes, decelerating potential growth, and deflation, is high and has increased significantly. The risk of economic development in Europe following Japan’s example of the 1990s is very real indeed.
This Economic Bulletin shows that one of Europe’s biggest economic weaknesses is a lack of private investment and that a European investment agenda is vital in order to generate the impetus required to push the European economy towards a sustainable recovery. European economic policy should focus not on higher public spending, but on increasing private investment as well as creating markets that function properly.
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