June 2012: Necessary, not sufficient

When countries such as the UK, Denmark and Sweden opted not to join the euro, some thought that governments in non-member countries would be permanently disadvantaged by being outside key meetings making landmark decisions on the future of the continent. Certainly plenty of key meetings are going on, but London, Copenhagen and Stockholm have been only too pleased not to be part of them. The lengthy euro area finance ministers telephone conference on 9 June that decided on a €100bn bail-out for troubled Spanish banks was a necessary but not sufficient step towards healing Europe’s woes. A victory for economic and monetary union (EMU)? Certainly a milestone (as it has become trite to say) that could possibly usher in the end-game. Hence the special attention paid to this subject in this OMFIF Bulletin. All this takes place against the background of a world economy suffering growth pangs. Yet countries which still have control over their own policies are taking steps to shift the economic trajectory. As Darrell Delamaide makes clear, the US Federal Reserve stands ready to relax policy further if employment flags during the summer. China has cut interest rates for the first time since 2008. Only the UK, the euro area’s most important trading partner, seems becalmed by inaction.

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