E.U. achievements refute critics’ claims of failure – Ambassador Vale de Almeida: EU Is Alive and Well

November 1, 2010 at 7:30 am

Writing in the Washington Post this month, Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United States, notes that recent economic and foreign policy developments demonstrate that rumors of the European Union’s death are greatly exaggerated. “The union is alive and well, taking strong, decisive action that is having an impact on Europe and the world,” he writes.

I have been the European Union’s ambassador and head of the E.U. Delegation to the United States for not quite two months — not long enough to be completely settled in, but long enough to hear the refrains about European failure on several occasions.

Against the backdrop of some E.U. member states’ fiscal difficulties, commentators have been quick to lump together a series of ailments — rising nationalism, deficits, high unemployment, a declining euro — and declare that the European Union is dying, if not already dead.

There is no glossing over the financial crisis and the severe impact it has had on many European countries, as well as the United States. But to suggest that we are on the brink of collapse is profoundly inaccurate and seriously underestimates the resilience of the 50-year-old European project. In fact, a good-news story is emerging that deserves much more attention than the doomsday headlines of the past six months.

This summer, European leaders agreed on measures to preserve financial stability in Europe, which included a rescue package for Greece, comprehensive financial stabilization mechanisms and the launching of revamped economic governance mechanisms. Critics said we acted too slowly. That is debatable, but the fact remains that our actions had the intended effects.

Greece has undertaken significant reforms to put its finances back on a sustainable path; in return, it has received loans from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund. Other E.U. countries have introduced measures designed to lower their own deficits. The European bank stress tests successfully performed in July have also helped to restore confidence in the financial sector. And last month, we reached an agreement to establish a new framework for financial supervision to help prevent future crises. And the euro proved its worth. Without it, we would most certainly have seen damaging instability in individual countries’ currencies.

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Source: By João Vale de Almeida, The Washington Post, Saturday, October 9, 2010

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Entry filed under: European Union.

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