Italy's Prime Minister Nailed It On The Existential Dilemma Facing Europe

Matteo renzi

REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi speaks during a confidence vote at the Senate in Rome February 24, 2014.

“I prefer to have a France with 4.4 per cent [debt-to-GDP ratio] today than a France with Marine Le Pen tomorrow.”

That quote is from Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in an interview with the FT, and it’s probably the perfect way to describe the situation that Europe has before it. (Via Vincenzo Scarpetta).

Currently Europe faces a dismal economy almost everywhere. There’s sky-high unemployment, a risk of deflation, and other ills.

But Europe won’t take the measures needed to address the problem — like spending more money to hire workers — in part because the countries have agreed to a deficit pact in which the countries have all vowed not to borrow more than 3% GDP each year.

And so now you have this long-term existential threat to Europe building in the form of anti-Eurozone and anti-EU candidates in France (the National Front), Germany (AfD), and the UK (UKIP). These parties thrive in the horrible environment in which people see a bleak future and no help (or even concern) from the elites in Brussels.

Renzi is right that a 4.4% deficit in France would be far better than the nationalist lLe Pen winning in the next election. The question is if Europe lets that happen.

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