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Deficits, Democracy, and Demographics: Europe’s Three Crises

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This article argues that the EU and, above all, the eurozone are facing not one crisis – an economic and fiscal one – but three: an economic crisis, a crisis of institutions, and a crisis of demography. These crises are not simultaneous; they are overlapping and self-reinforcing, and there is a high degree of feedback across all three crises. Economically, the euro inflated economic growth and government revenue in the peripheral economies, giving those member states a false sense of their economic prospects. Institutionally, mechanisms were too weak at the EU level to prevent a dangerous escalation of asset (above all house) prices and too fragmented to confront the crisis through an immediate and decisive plan that would provide calm to the markets. Demographically, Europe’s economic and fiscal problems are and will increasingly be exacerbated by the continent’s demographic situation and its projected development, especially in southern Europe.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 2, 2014

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