After a year of challenges from the populist far right, Europe looks set for an opportunity to reform. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – if she can assemble a coalition – may not get a better chance.[...]
The Eurogroup's new president, Mario Centeno, has welcomed euro zone reform proposals agreed by Germany's two biggest parties in preliminary coalition talks.[...]
President Trump is expected to make his case for 'America First' at this month’s World Economic Forum. French President Macron and German Chancellor Merkel could offer an opposing view that values working together over self-interest.[...]
BRUSSELS (Sputnik), Luc Rivet – The prospects of nuclear energy in Europe are increasingly uncertain amid the drive to cut carbon emissions as well as the need to balance this with a growing distaste for nuclear energy in some EU states.[...]
With France and Germany, the European Union’s leaders, showing shared intent, this is the best opportunity yet for structural change[...]
* Germany had world's largest current account surplus lastyear* EU has long urged Berlin to step up spending to boost eurozone* Ministers to endorse "broadly neutral" fiscal stance in2018-19By Francesco Guarascio and Jan StrupczewskiBRUSSELS, Jan 16 (Reuters) - European Union financeministers will call on Germany next week to boost wages andinvestment, EU documents show, underlining a longstanding demandthat Berlin strengthen the bloc's recovery by rebalancing itsexport-oriented economy.In their monthly talks next Tuesday, ministers will agree onthe euro zone's economic policy for this year and will discusshow to tackle imbalances that each EU economies develop.In draft conclusions of the talks, obtained by Reuters, theministers agree with the European Commission's opinion thatGermany has an excessive current account surplus that it shouldaddress."Member States with large current account surpluses shouldcreate the conditions to promote wage growth respecting the roleof social partners and implement as a priority measures thatfoster investment (and) support domestic demand and growthpotential," the ministers' draft conclusions said.The documents also called on euro zone states with highcurrent account deficits to contain wage growth.Germany's current account surplus was the world's largest in2017, the Munich-based Ifo economic institute said, unveiling arecord high reading likely to renew criticism of the economicand fiscal policies in Europe's largest economy.The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EuropeanCommission have for years urged Germany to lift domestic demandand imports in order to reduce global economic imbalances andfuel global growth, including within the euro zone.But the EU's executive arm last year stopped short ofcalling for an expansionary fiscal stance for the euro zone, amove that would have put pressure on Germany to raise investmentand wages.When the Commission proposed a fiscal stimulus target forthe euro zone in 2016, the bloc's member states rejected theproposal.They are now set to agree on a "broadly neutral overallfiscal stance for the euro area" for this year and next, in linewith the commission's proposals, draft documents show.Ifo said the German current account surplus -- whichmeasures the flow of goods, services and investments -- was theworld's largest for the second year running in 2017 at $287billion, followed by Japan with $203 billion.The Commission said last November that Germany's largecurrent account surplus was caused by excess savings and subduedinvestment."Wage growth is moderate, but so is per capita householdconsumption keeping the household saving rate at an elevatedlevel. Government debt continued to decrease towards thethreshold with budget surpluses forecast over the forecasthorizon," the Commission said.German budget plans envisage a rise in investment from 33.2billion euros in 2016 to 37.1 billion in 2019.Despite the lowest unemployment rate in the euro zone at 3.6percent of the workforce, Germany has slow wage growth, whichalso makes it more difficult for the European Central Bank tobring inflation higher, closer to its target of below, but closeto two percent in the euro zone.(Writing by Jan Strupczewski, Editing by William Maclean)[...]
Germany’s current account surplus was the world’s largest in 2017, the Munich-based Ifo...[...]

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