As leaders of the European Union meet this week to try to resolve Europe’s debt crisis, economists will play a major role in the success or failure of efforts to prevent the region from lapsing into a deep recession.
From USA Today:
Italy will be represented by Prime Minister Mario Monti, an economist and former EU official who replaced the erratic and flamboyant Silvio Berlusconi last month. On Monday, Monti announced a $41 billion package of new taxes and spending cuts that’s designed to reduce the nation’s debt, the second-largest in the European Union.
Greece will be represented by Lucas Papademos, a former vice president of the European Central Bank, appointed interim prime minister last month. He’s negotiating a debt swap agreement with private lenders in hopes of preventing that country’s debt from ballooning to twice the size of its economy. Wednesday, Greek lawmakers approved an austerity budget extending deep spending cuts into next year.
Michael Szenberg, professor of economics at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, argues that Monti and Papademos could be just what Europe needs. Both are unlikely to run for office when their terms expire, which makes them convenient scapegoats for the backlash against cuts in public programs, Szenberg says. “We all have to tighten our belts,” he says. “You blame them — the technocrats.”
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