Europe Needs to Combine Solid Fiscal Policy with Structural Reform

2012 will not go down as a growth year in the annals of the EU. In its autumn assessment presented on 7 November 2012, the EU Commission actually predicted a reduction in GDP by 0.3 percent for the EU economy in the current year. The EU Commission expects slight economic growth again in 2013. On the other hand, the assessment predicts that unemployment will remain at a high level.

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Millions of Jobs Wiped Out by Economic Crisis

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 30 million more people around the world are now unemployed compared to the onset of the global economic crisis in 2008. Another 40 million people are no longer available in the employment market since the affected individuals have given up hope of a regular job.

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Tailwind from Brussels for the Automobile Industry

CARS 2020 is the EU Commission's action plan for the European automobile industry. Helping the industry maintain its leading position in global competition is the objective. The plan presented on 8 November 2012 in Brussels is the first component of the European Union's new industrial policy introduced in 2010.

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EUR 200 Million More for Expansion of European Infrastructure

The development and expansion of a trans-European transportation network (TEN-V) is being subsidised with co-financing by the European Union. EUR 200 million is available this year for 74 projects selected by the EU Commission. Roads, waterways, rail links, airports and seaports are eligible in principle.

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Eurostat Presents Interim Results of Europe 2020 Strategy

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, presented a report on the state of leading indicators for the Europe 2020 strategy on 1 October 2012. The strategy was approved by the European Council in 2010. It is aimed at a high level of employment, productivity and social cohesiveness.

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EU social partners negotiate over new maximum working hours

The directive valid in the European Union governing the regulation of working hours dates from the year 2003. New legal regulations aimed at adjusting to suit the profoundly changing working world are considered overdue. This affects, among other aspects, on-call services, minimum rest times and the flexible calculation of weekly working hours. A proposal for a new directive is to be submitted by the end of 2012.

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The Euro is developing into the true common currency

The ruling of the German Federal Constitutional Court on 12.9.2012 cleared the way for Germany, as the final eurozone country to do so, to ratify the contract for the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). On that very day, the EU Commission presented a schedule for the consolidation of the shared Euro currency. This underpins the announcement made one week previously by Mario Draghi, the President of the European Central Bank (ECB). The Euro will be definitively defended by the ECB.

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The European crisis: perceptions from Japan in comparison with the "lost decade"

By Tetsuya Umehara, Plum Field Advisory

What has been described as the "lost decade" in Japan refers to the economic and social stagnation after the boom period at the end of the 80s to the beginning of the 90s. Since the collapse of the economic boom in 1991, the Japanese economy has experienced a series of years of zero, minor negative, or minor positive growth. During this period, quality of life, household income and unemployment remained at the same level without any serious critical decline or growth. Now, there is talk of the "lost decades", highlighting the fact that the Japanese economy has been on hold for the past 20 years.

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Construction sector to drive growth

In the opinion of the EU Commission, the construction sector may become a motor to create new jobs in the union. Subsidising low-energy buildings is to be the key. Loans of around EUR 120 billion made available by the European Investment Bank in June 2012 for the Growth and Employment Pact are to be increasingly used for this purpose.

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ILO labour market researchers count on employment policy

According to a report by the Institute for Labour Studies on the employment crisis, which was discussed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on 11 July 2012 in Geneva, unemployment in the Eurozone could increase from currently 17.4 million to 22 million affected persons in just four years. However, ILO Director General Juan Somavia indicates that the unemployment problem is not limited to the Eurozone and therefore needs to be addressed internationally by the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the G20 with an employment strategy.

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