Lawrence Summers on Europe:
Perhaps it should not be surprising that Europe still looks to be in serious trouble. Growth has been dismal; the euro-zone gross domestic product has been below its 2007 level for six years, and little growth is forecast this year. For every Ireland, where there is a sense that a corner is being turned, there is a France, where questions increasingly arise about the political and economic sustainability of policy.
The controversy surrounding the decision by the European authorities to bail out Cypriot bank depositors suggests the degree of fragility in Europe. The idea that converting a small portion of deposits into equity claims in an economy with a population of barely more than 1 million could be a source of systemic risk suggests the hair-trigger character of the current situation.
I’m worried about Europe now in a way I haven’t been, since just before Gorbachev refused to send in the tanks in the fall of 1989.
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