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Economic contractions, massive deficits, sluggish growth and looming bankruptcy among European Union member-states are contributing to the Continent’s instability.
“The eurozone faces the danger of a ‘doubledip’ recession after Germany’s economy retreated into stagnation…Germany was the biggest drag, recording zero growth in the final three months of 2009 after emerging from recession earlier in the year” (Daily Mail). A severe European winter worsened the economic downturn.
In response, EU President Herman Van Rompuy recently called for a new, stronger EU economic regime empowered to legislate, supervise and impose budgets. “The crisis has a potential negative impact on longer-term growth prospects,” Mr. Van Rompuy told a Christian Social Union party conference in Wildbad Kreuth, Germany (The Financial Times).
In response, plans for major reform are taking shape—reforms that could significantly redefine Europe.
Mr. Van Rompuy “suggested ominously that a window for ‘major reform’ has been opened by the Greek debt crisis, which has undermined the euro and has shown up the limits of EU power to co-ordinate government spending among the 16 countries sharing the same currency” (Morning Star).
Sarah Gaskell of Open Europe, an independent EU think tank, told The Associated Press that she views recent actions of Mr. Van Rompuy as a “power grab” and that he is pushing “forward economic integration in a way that’s not necessarily transparent.”