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3. How it all works
THE EUROPEAN PROJECT (and thus the euro) suffers both from a lack of clarity over its precise nature and end-point and from the dull complexity of its institutional structure. Like a pantomime horse, it has long had a dual character, reflecting an initial compromise between those countries wanting a United States of Europe and those preferring a club of nation-states. Thus it has federalist elements such as the European Commission, a (now directly elected) European Parliament, a European Court of Justice and a European Central Bank. But it also has strong inter-governmental bodies: the Council of Ministers, representing national governments, and the European Council of heads of state and government. An important force throughout the euro crisis has been the tension between those preferring federal answers (often called the “community” method) and those favouring intergovernmental solutions (sometimes referred to as the “union” method).1
2. From the origins to Maastricht
THE EUROPEAN PROJECT was a consequence of the second world war and the cold war. How to tame the German problem that had led to two world wars? How to harness its economic power to rebuild Europe? And how to reconstitute the German army to help fend off the Soviet threat? The answer to these conundrums was to fuse the German economy within a common European system, and to embed its armed forces within a transatlantic military alliance.
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“The economic and ﬁnancial instability that has rocked Europe and North America since 2008 has been a disaster for millions of people who have lost jobs, homes, and savings. Clearly in retrospect, governments were mistaken in this. Failures to regulate effectively allowed financial institutions to build houses of cards that would soon collapse. Governments tolerated the creation of a bubble in the housing market sustained by vast amounts of easy credit, perhaps linked to global financial imbalances.”
The Consequences of the Global Financial Crisis: The Rhetoric of Reform and Regulation
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O custo do capital aumentou com efeito, o qual arrefecerá o investimento e permanecerá o esforço ao crescimento. Prevê-se, face ao futuro, que o crescimento mundial aumentará de 3 por cento em 2013 para 3,6 por cento em 2014 e 3,9 por cento em 2015, o que não representa grandes alterações no referente às previsões de Outubro de 2013.
O crescimento aumentaria a aproximadamente 2,25 por cento no biénio 2014 – 2015 nas economias avançadas, ou seja, melhora cerca de 1 por cento em comparação com 2013. Os principais factores dessa mudança são a aplicação de políticas fiscais menos restritivas, com excepção do Japão, e a decisão de manter condições monetárias extremamente acomodatícias.
EUROPE HAS LONG PRIDED ITSELF on being a model for the rest of the world of how to reconcile old enemies after centuries of war, blend the power of capitalism with social justice and balance work with leisure. Little matter that Europeans did not generate as much wealth as overworked Americans; Europeans took more time off to enjoy life. And little matter that Europe could not project the same military force as the United States; Europe saw itself as a “normative power”, able to influence the world through its ability to set rules and standards. Some Europhiles even imagined that Europe would “run the 21st century”, as the title of one optimistic book put it.