When we talk about winners and losers in Euroland, the natural question is, “how can you make everybody a winner?”. And I think this is important while Euroland goes through a cyclical upswing since that’s when reforms can actually be the least painful. Will the ‘German Model’ be the one to save Europe?
Since the EU had been a growth laggard due to the European sovereign debt crisis, the pickup in growth there is encouraging. In particular, Italy deserves mention as it has lagged and is where I believe the battle for the EU’s future will be won. Some thoughts below
While the economy in the UK was favourable for Corbyn last week, I don’t think the economics support populism elsewhere in Europe right now. Everywhere you look, the populists are in retreat in Europe. And that will give the EU breathing room to put some reforms in place. Let’s see if they do.
The Eurozone economy is doing really well. Some data points to 3% growth. The German economy is doing even better – with some data pointing to 5% annualized growth. But there’s a downside – overheating. And with the ECB at negative rates and engaged in 60 billion Euros of QE to boot, overheating in Germany is a reasonable fear. Some thoughts below
Germany held elections in Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW) this past weekend. And the results, while encouraging for Angela Merkel’s CDU, point to difficulties that lie ahead for French President Emmanuel Macron’s reform agenda in Europe. This is negative for periphery bonds.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble talked to German weekly Der Spiegel about the election of Emmanuel Macron as French President, and this interview is being widely quoted in the English-language press without benefit of a translation. Having read the article, I would say there is nothing extraordinary in his commentary. None of his positions have changed. Let me explain what he said below.
I just finished reading an illuminating article by Andrew Ross Sorkin on healthcare and it got me to thinking about a review of structural reforms by Dani Rodrik which encapsulates the problem with fixes to ‘competitiveness’. The message: target reforms like a laser or they won’t work.
At the height of the European Sovereign Debt Crisis, German leader Angela Merkel was openly calling for ‘more Europe, not less’. With Emmanuel Macron elected to the Presidency of France on that platform, Merkel has perhaps her only chance to make good on that vision. First she needs to get re-elected though. But if she gets that far — and her party’s election win last night in Schleswig-Holstein suggests she will — she has to meet Macron with a reformer’s fervour or lose Europe to nationalism.
Having written the last piece on the intersection of Austrian economics and Post-Keynesian economics, I was asking myself the question: so what? Yes, the punch line of the piece was that both of these schools of thought lead to a world view marked by worry. But, as my friend Marcus, always asks me: how to make money from that. Here’s my answer – and I’m going to use Emmanuel Macron as the example.
At the weekend, French Presidential election frontrunner Emmanuel Macron told the BBC that EU leaders “have to face the situation, to listen to our people, and to listen to the fact that they are extremely angry today, impatient and the dysfunction of the EU is no more sustainable”. He then warned that if EU leaders do not correct this dysfunction, either France would exit the eurozone or the National Front would take over or both. I think what he says is true and let me explain why.
About two months ago I wrote about Emmanuel Macron as a risk, rather than a saviour. Today, following his 1st round presidential victory in France, I feel even more that he represents a risk that is unappreciated. Here’s why.
Yesterday, I was talking to a veteran journalist based in Rome. He remarked that youth unemployment in southern Italy was 60% and that this was one of the biggest problems to deal with politically. The spectre of strong, able-bodied young men sitting idle is always something that should fill any political system with dread – because it is exactly those same young men who always lead violent protests or revolution, no matter where in the world.