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Unemployment is skyrocketing – but we have treaty obligations!

And that is the problem. The Treaty (of Lisbon) and all the related Eurozone legalities that define the way the Brussels bureaucracy interacts with the member states is incapable of delivering prosperity to its citizens. In the last week, a senior Dutch economics official (boss of very conservative Centraal Planbureau) has delivered a wake-up call to European policy makers. In his departing press briefings the CPB chief, who is no Keynesian (rather he is a rigid supply-sider) has called for flexibility with respect to the application of the fiscal rules and an easing of the planned austerity because his nation’s economic performance is deteriorating fast. The Southern malaise is now impacting on the richer, more smug northern nations, as it always was going too. Many economists remain in denial of what is happening. It is 2013 not 2009. The world has been caught up in this crisis for 5 years. It is an entrenched crisis and the data is now showing us that the recent manifestation of the crisis is being driven by fiscal austerity. The initial impacts of the GFC were large but recovery had commenced and have now been killed off by the fiscal zealots. While the departing CPB boss called on the Dutch government to ignore the Stability and Growth Pact rules for the next few years, he also observed, that the nation had “treaty obligations”. That is the problem. These obligations prevent responsible fiscal positions, which in the current circumstances, would suggest budget deficits of several more percent of GDP than the 3 per cent rule being fully supported by the ECB.

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