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Action taken by many European countries to return their public finances to health are beginning to pay off, says the OECD. The Euro area economies which emerged from the crisis with serious current account deficits are now in surplus. Debt-to-GDP ratios are stabilising and market tensions have abated.
Low productivity growth in the EU has deep structural causes. Strengthening human capital, work incentives and competition, and better integrating the Single Market would boost inclusive growth.
Raising euro area economic performance requires cleaning up bank balance sheets, completing banking union to foster unbiased risk assessment, further structural reforms and strong fiscal policy frameworks.
After five years of work at every level to correct the fiscal, financial and external imbalances that led to the crisis, and to reinforce fiscal and financial institutions, the Euro Area is beginning to show signs of recovery. But, despite these positive signs, growth is still weak and uneven.
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The euro area is beginning to show the much-awaited signs of recovery. Area-wide efforts to strengthen the public finances and the institutional underpinnings of the monetary union are sowing the seeds of vigorous, inclusive growth. But comprehensive structural reforms are needed to enhance productivity and restore competitiveness in the years to come.
In Europe, the two most pressing structural policy priorities that must be addressed are the challenge of unemployment and the restoration the health of euro area banks, said OECD Secretary-General in Brussels.
A moderate recovery is underway in the major advanced economies, according to the OECD’s latest Interim Economic Assessment. Growth is proceeding at encouraging rates in North America, Japan and the UK. The euro area as a whole is out of recession, although output remains weak in a number of countries.
The euro area crisis finds its roots in the credit booms seen in many countries following the introduction of the euro in 1999. Easy credit led to strong growth in a range of sectors, notably housing, as well as higher levels of public spending. Inflation in these over-heating economies was higher than the euro area as a whole. Rising prices led to rising costs and a loss of international competitiveness.
by Charles Jenkins, Writer, Commentator and former Director of Western Europe Country Analysis, Economist Intelligence Unit, London. The EU’s crisis has as much to do with leadership and solidarity as resolving fiscal and debt problems. It is time to dispense with caricatures and write the next chapter in the EU’s ongoing history. And for that, clear and transparent data will be needed.
Secretary-General Angel Gurría outlines the crucial actions that we must take to resolve the euro crisis, strengthen the global financial system and anchor growth in the long-term through structural reform at the 30th anniversary of the International Institute of Finance in Tokyo.