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EU public finances in the crisis

Abstract : Catherine Mathieu and Henri Sterdyniak look more specifically at "EU public finances in the crisis". They remind us that the 2007?09 crisis is primarily a banking and financial crisis caused by risky innovations in a context of uncontrolled liberalisation and globalisation, and by unsustainable macroeconomic strategies relying either on export-oriented growth or on credit-financed consumption growth in a context of stagnating wages and social benefits. In any case, the authors claim, the crisis was not due to excessive public debts and deficits. Rather, the financial crisis has shown that fiscal policy, public intervention and regulation remain necessary. However, in Mathieu and Sterdyniak?s view, the debate on fiscal exit strategies raises four fears. The first is that public finance problems are used as a pretext for reducing the welfare system. This would be socially and economically dangerous and could undermine the European social model which has just shown its effectiveness during the crisis. The second fear is that fiscal austerity leads to a reduction of growth-enhancing public expenditure such as research and development, education, support for innovative industries and for the green economy. The third fear is that governments under the threat of rating agencies and financial markets implement restrictive policies too strongly and too quickly, which would weigh on the recovery and lead to a failure to reduce unemployment. Finally, a strengthening of the Stability and Growth Pact and the introduction of restrictive fiscal rules in national legislations and the absence of public debt guarantees in the euro area would make active fiscal policy more difficult to implement in the future. Against these fears, Mathieu and Sterdyniak present their alternative policy recommendations for a stronger and more social Europe.
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 11:32:31 AM
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Catherine Mathieu, Henri Sterdyniak. EU public finances in the crisis. Torsten Niechoj; Özlem Onaran; Engelbert Stockhammer; Achim Truger. Stabilising an unequal economy? Public debt, financial regulation and income distribution, Metropolis Verlag, pp.173 - 193, 2011. ⟨hal-03414190⟩

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