The EUROPP team take a look at some of the latest developments in Brussels and across Europe
Is Europe facing a lost decade?
With economic growth stalling in the Eurozone, Michael Heise at Project Syndicate asks whether the idea of a ‘lost decade’ in Europe, similar to that experienced in Japan in the 1990s, is now a reality. He argues that while there are some similarities between Japan and the Eurozone, Europe nevertheless has an important advantage: it can learn from the policy mistakes pursued by the Japanese government. Whether EU policymakers are willing to do so, however, remains to be seen.
On this front, Simon Wren-Lewis at Mainly Macro writes that, in the words of Paul De Grauwe, Europe has suffered from ‘balanced budget fundamentalism’ in its pursuit of spending cuts in the aftermath of the financial crisis. He reasons that the adoption of austerity in Europe was driven not so much by economic theory, but rather by a reaction to the debt crises brought about through the bond markets in Eurozone states. Meanwhile, Vox have compiled a collection of responses on whether the lack of economic growth might be explained by ‘secular stagnation’.
Germany and Iraq
Charlemagne’s notebook writes on the role of Germany in the decision of European states to provide military support to Kurdish forces aiming to halt the advance of Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq. The article notes that while Germany opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and while arms exports are always controversial in the country, the German government has nevertheless voiced support for arming Kurdish forces.
Elsewhere, Carmen Draghici at the Conversation argues that following the murder of the American journalist James Foley by IS supporters, the international community must do more to protect journalists operating in conflict areas. On the wider issues in the Middle East, the Strategic Europe blog also asks five experts on the region how the current crises in Iraq and Syria could ultimately be solved and what role Europe should play in a solution.
Viktor Orbán and the Hungarian media
Finally, Thorsten Benner and Wolfgang H. Reinicke write at Project Syndicate on the policies of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his ruling Fidesz party on the Hungarian media. They argue that recent media reforms, most notably an increase in tax on advertising revenue, have been used to undermine independent broadcasters in the country, and that the EU should be doing more to promote media pluralism and democracy among its member states. The policies suggested include more effective monitoring mechanisms at the EU level and other European states providing funding for Hungarian language broadcasts.
Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.
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