Tuesday, March 31, 2009

EUconomic Recovery

The EU has a population of close to 500 million and, taken as a single economy, is the largest in the world with a GDP of $19 trillion. It is also the largest exporter of goods, the second largest importer, and the biggest trading partner to several large countries such as India, and China. Given all that, it is surprising that it's major contribution to resolving the current global economic downturn consists chiefly of criticising US policy. 

Last week Mirek Topolanek, who is running the EU presidency despite the collapse of his government in the Czech Republic, described Barack Obama's spending proposals as the "road to hell." Now, I am no lover of President Obama's pork-laden, anti-trade, nationalisation in the guise of stimulus packages and bailouts. Our own experience in Kenya amply demonstrates that the heavy hand of government rarely inspires innovation and accountability. 

However, it does occur to me that the EU has fared little better in this regard and has failed to step up to the plate. It still choses to hitch its wagon to the moribund US economy instead of using its economic muscle to chart a new course, one where the rest of the world doesn't head to the ICU when the US catches a case of the sniffles.

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