Shane Fitzgerald

A portfolio of writing on politics and policy in Europe and Asia

Month: July, 2011

Combating the Crisis – The Role of the ECB

The European Central Bank has had a difficult time since the onset of the European sovereign debt crisis. Forced to step into a political vacuum caused by the failure of the European Union’s traditional policymaking process to get to grips with extraordinary events, it has tried to balance the sometimes competing demands of safeguarding the Euro, supporting the financial system, nurturing economic fundamentals and protecting its own integrity.

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Junking the Ratings Agencies

Yesterday Ireland joined Greece and Portugal in the credit rating ‘junkyard’ as Moody’s downgraded its debt to Ba1 level. The agency also put the country on a negative outlook, meaning that further downgrades are likely.

Ireland’s response is one of understandable frustration, as it has until now been widely commended for ‘getting with the programme’ and implementing harsh austerity measures. More interesting is the furious reaction of EU leaders, perhaps reflecting the fact that recent downgrades are less a verdict on the Irish or Portuguese economies than a condemnation of Europe’s collective failure to get to grips with a crisis that still threatens to engulf its single currency.

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A New Deal for Europe?

We’ve previously covered the work of the European Parliament’s Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis (CRIS Committee) on this blog and indeed the Chairman of the Committee, Dr Wolf Klinzvisited the IIEA in October to discuss its work.

Yesterday its Rapporteur, Pervenche Beres, presented her final report to the Parliament. A resolution backing the report was adopted with 434 votes in favour, 128 against and 33 abstentions.

The resolution is non-legislative but nonetheless is a strong demonstration of the European Parliament’s hopes for radical action to boost European competitiveness, employment, innovation and growth in the years ahead.

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