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EU goes through economic upturn

24
May '07
Emma Bonino, Italy's Minister for International Trade and European Affairs, said the European economy was in strong recovery, with higher growth forecast for the EU than for the US over the next two years, falling unemployment, low inflation and robust export markets. But now the EU must reinforce its competitive position by stabilising public finances and pushing the reform process.

Globalisation could be great opportunity for the Union as a key player in this new economic and political landscape, as long as its internal reform programme continues.

Ms Bonino said she approved of the European Commission's new assertiveness on the world stage, which would be crucial to boost a current EU growth rate of 3% and compete with higher rates in other parts of the world, particularly China and India.

Globalisation is clearly an opportunity, but there are risks for the EU in being too closely linked to America at a time of possible US recession, added to financial instability in some Asian economies.

The problems for the EU economies are low investment, particularly in research; a relative scarcity of skilled workers; a closed internal market; limited self-sufficiency in energy; a rigid bureaucracy and red tape; and limited incentives for foreign investors, in Italy in particular. Increased productivity is the answer, via the Lisbon Agenda and a new approach to global competition.

The Minister said Italy's own more recent economic recovery followed many years of nil growth, and had been helped more by exports and trade than by internal consumption.


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