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More trouble with the Euro?

June 28th, 2012 - The European debt crisis is at a critical juncture and it becomes more apparent where the roots of this crisis are: a few European countries are facing the results of the global recession and the partnership among Euro member states is challenged. While Greece, Spain and Italy are needing more financial support and debating a potential departure from the Euro zone, world leaders such as Obama and Harper criticise the EU Commission to finally handle the crisis during the G20 summit. The European Commission is now under enormous pressure to come up with major reforms in order to rescue the Euro and, more broadly, the ambitious project of European integration. " The challenges that the European Union is facing are grounded in politics as much as economic. Do these issues illustrate the end of the Economic and Monetary Union and that perhaps other key features of the EU are ultimately unworkable? Or will the European Monetary Union emerge from this crisis stronger than before?"

Dr. Mark Brawley specializes in international political economy (IPE), but he is also interested in trade and international financial relations. Moreover, his interests in IPE often make connections between issues in political economic and international security. Dr. Mark Brawley is available for comments this Thursday, June 28th and Friday, June 29th.

Canada a model for Europe?

June 13th, 2012 - Prime minister Harper says Canada is a model for Europe. But Canada's total debt is comparable to Greece and Spain; and Canada lags behind successful European economies.  Canada's total debt in 2011 was 276% of its GDP, slightly higher than the ratio for Greece. Its public debt ratio was 69% of GDP, slightly lower than the share of Spain's public debt which was at the time 71% of its GDP.

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Contrary to statements by the government and the Bank of Canada, it is a fact that Canadian banks received substantial bailout funding after the financial crisis of 2008. In the first quarter of 2012 the Canadian current account deficit reached a new record height of 10.3 billion CAD. Youth unemployment is close to 15 %, and in some provinces far above this national average. Are there good reasons for the Harper government to brag that Canada is a model for the world? Not really. Sure, Canada is not Greece, Spain, Portugal or Italy but it also does not belong into the group of successful European economies like Germany, Sweden, Norway or Denmark. As a economy rich in natural resources Canada actually should play in the same league as Norway. Instead we are suffering under high and rising income inequality, low economic growth, low productivity and diminishing public goods - nothing to be especially proud about.

Dr. Kurt Huebner is Jean Monnet Chair at the University of British Columbia. For his more in-depth analysis see also his last interview on CTV news : Harper meets with France's Hollande, urges EU unity and read his policy memo: http://www.ies.ubc.ca/political-exploitation-crisis-eurozone. Dr. Huebner is available for comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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