Brief Crisis Breakdown
Since the onset of the global financial crisis, or Great Recession, in 2007, the Eurozone has feared impending growing global debt levels, as well as sovereign debt within European countries themselves. In Europe, an ongoing fiscal crisis has created difficulties for countries including Greece, Ireland, and Portugal (now also Spain and Italy), to refinance their sovereign debs without aid. On May 9 2010, 27 European Union (EU) member states created the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to secure financial stability by providing financial aid to the struggling economies (seeking approval of a rescue package worth €750 billion). Much discussion has focused on austerity – decreasing deficit spending, but also reducing benefits and public services. In the winter of 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former French President Nicholas Sarkozy aimed to form a “fiscal pact” to ensure balanced budgets to avoid another crisis. Last week, EU members gathered in Brussels to brainstorm job growth opportunities and prevent the crisis from deepening any further. In Ireland today, voting is taking place that will determine whether it ratifies the proposed fiscal pact, BBC News reports.
A recently released Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project reveals country stereotypes triggered by the Euro crisis. German leaders are revered and Germans are deemed the “most hardworking people.” Angela Merkel has been praised extensively for her leadership during the crisis. In Greece the story is more grim, as other nations look down upon it, and Greeks are labeled the “least hardworking.”
“Across the board, Europeans expect the adverse effects of the euro crisis to continue for the immediate future. A median of 22% of those surveyed see the economy improving over the next year. The least optimistic are the Greeks (9%). The most optimistic are the British, but still only a third (32%) have a positive outlook. By comparison, Americans (52%) are 30 points more upbeat about the trajectory of the economy than are Europeans.” — Pew Research Center.
Are the stereotypes “fair”? Any readers in Europe growing increasingly frustrated? How have you been affected by the global financial crisis? What are some major concerns you have about the state of the world economy?