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.”
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.