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SnapshotsSep 3, 2020 | 16:10 GMT
The Eurozone's Economic Rebound Loses Momentum
Early signs indicate the eurozone's economic rebound from the COVID-19 crisis is already losing steam, which will force governments to introduce new rounds of stimulus that deepen their already problematic fiscal deficits. The eurozone contracted by a record 12.1 percent during the second quarter of 2020 as lockdown measures negatively impacted consumption, investment and trade. The lifting of those measures led to an improvement in economic activity since late May, but recent indicators suggest that this rebound is weakening as the rise in COVID-19 cases forces governments to reintroduce social distancing measures and international travel warnings. 
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AssessmentsAug 26, 2020 | 15:13 GMT
A close-up of a five-euro banknote.
The Eurozone's Upcoming Financial Problems
Escalating soverign debt and fiscal deficit levels in eurozone countries due to the COVID-19 crisis will increase the probability of financial and banking crises in the years ahead, as well as surges in social unrest and higher taxes for both large corporations and big earners. Furlough schemes, subsidies and other forms of welfare spending across the eurozone are mitigating the economic fallout from the pandemic by keeping money in people's pockets and helping sustain domestic consumption at a time of deep recessions. But these schemes are financed through sovereign debt, loans from EU institutions and deepening fiscal deficits -- all of which are unsustainable.
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SnapshotsJul 31, 2020 | 18:13 GMT
The Eurozone's Shrinking GDP Growth Solidifies a Slow Recovery
Rising COVID-19 infections will slow the eurozone's economic recovery by forcing governments to reintroduce lockdown measures that undermine business activity. Recessions across the bloc could last well into 2021 -- keeping consumption, investment and trade below pre-pandemic levels for several more months, while increasing the chances of business uncertainty and social unrest. The economic recovery will be particularly slow in Southern Europe due to the disproportionate impact of lockdown measures on the region's tourism-based economies, some of which were already in recessions before the pandemic. Ongoing uncertainty about future lockdown measures and the potential lifting of national stimulus efforts also means the risk of bankruptcies, financial crises and social unrest across Europe will remain high in the coming months.
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AssessmentsJun 9, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, one of the main opposition candidates running in Poland's 2020 presidential election, greets locals and supporters in Wieliczka, Poland, during a campaign event on June 5, 2020. 
Poland After the Presidential Election
Poland’s upcoming presidential election could increase political instability at a time of already mounting economic uncertainty, should a less Euroskeptic opposition candidate defeat President Andrzej Duda and secure the power to veto legislation. Regardless of who wins, in the months ahead the Polish government will need to defend both its economy from further harm due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its access to EU farming subsidies and cohesion funds in the bloc’s 2021-2027 budget. Over time, growing debt levels and a worsening deficit could damage the government’s popularity and open the door to political change by impeding Warsaw’s ability to expand social welfare benefits.  
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AssessmentsMay 27, 2020 | 16:31 GMT
A statue depicting the euro is pictured outside the headquarters of the European Central Bank, which serves as the central bank of the 19 EU countries within the eurozone, in Frankfurt, Germany.
Will COVID-19 Be the Eurozone’s Undoing?
COVID-19 will saddle the eurozone with financial and political risks for years to come, testing the economic and institutional resilience of the currency area. High debt and deficit levels will increase the probability of sovereign defaults, especially in Southern Europe, as high unemployment levels create fertile ground for social unrest and the resurgence of destabilizing nationalist and anti-establishment political parties across the Continent. 
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SnapshotsDec 26, 2019 | 19:49 GMT
Macron Digs in for an Extended Fight Over Pension Reform
A fourth week of strikes has gripped France as the country's main trade unions continue to resist President Emmanuel Macron's plan to reform the pension system, fomenting unrest that will probably continue into 2020 and shape Macron's political future. For Macron, the stakes are higher than simply halting the disruptions to French public transportation systems and the small-scale fuel shortages that the strikes have caused. For him, the outcome of the dispute will determine how much room he'll have to act when it comes to introducing future reforms in the French economy.
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AssessmentsJul 9, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
Migrants sit aboard a Maltese patrol boat after being rescued off the Libyan coast by a German-flagged ship on July 7, 2019.
When It Comes to EU Migration Policies, Italy Won’t Go Down Without a Fight
Far fewer asylum seekers are now knocking on Europe's door compared with the droves that flooded its borders just a few years ago. But thanks to Italy, the European Union is still grappling with immigration concerns. The Italian government recently threatened to stop registering migrants who arrive in its territory so that they can move to other parts of the Continent -- thereby violating the European Union’s Dublin Regulation, which establishes that migrants have to apply for asylum in the country where they first set foot. But despite facing possible sanctions for doing so, Italy's government is showing no signs of backing down, especially since its tough anti-immigration stance has continued to serve to its right-wing party's benefit at the polls. Thus, immigration will remain a central issue in Rome’s political agenda in the months ahead -- providing fodder for even more diplomatic disputes between Italy and Brussels, as well as other
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AssessmentsJun 6, 2019 | 16:29 GMT
The national flag of Greece.
Greece's Economic Past Will Haunt Its Political Future
For the first time in a decade, Greek voters will elect a government without their country being part of an economic rescue program. Markets have reacted positively in anticipation of the July 7 vote since opinion polls have the conservative New Democracy party securing another victory, after squarely defeating the ruling Syriza party in the recent EU parliamentary elections. But despite the opposition party's campaign promises to accelerate Greece's recovery through pro-business policies, if elected, its leaders will soon find that the complicated issues underpinning Athens' economic malaise and geopolitical constraints will not be solved in one term -- or several, for that matter.
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AssessmentsMar 2, 2018 | 12:34 GMT
Italy votes in a crowded general election on March 4.
Why the Coming Elections Won’t Cure Italy's Problems
Italians are heading to the ballot box this weekend, but it's anyone's guess as to who will ultimately emerge as the victor. What is clear, however, is that the results on March 4 will be felt well beyond Italy's borders. A likely push by the next Italian government to cut taxes and to increase public spending could put the country on a collision course with EU institutions and could generate concerns in international markets about Italy's efforts to maintain a balanced budget and to reduce its staggering debt levels. No matter who is in charge -- and the prospect of drawn-out coalition negotiations suggests a new administration won't be in charge anytime soon -- any Italian government will have to deal with a weak economy and a heavy debt burden, as well as an electorate that is unhappy with politicians in Rome and Brussels.
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AssessmentsAug 14, 2017 | 13:47 GMT
Notwithstanding their differences, the European countries as a bloc have achieved outsize clout in the global trade sphere.
Trade Profile: The European Union Tries to Reconcile Its Differences
Over the past seven decades, the European Union has grown from a group of six Western European countries to a bloc of 28 member states spanning the Continent. And in the process, it has become a formidable force in global trade. The bloc, home to roughly 7 percent of the world's population, accounts for around 20 percent of global exports and imports today. The European Union is the largest exporter of manufactured goods and services in the world, the biggest export market for around 80 countries, and the global leader in both inbound and outbound international investment. But when crafting its trade strategy, the bloc must take into the diverging priorities of individual member states, each of which has a distinct history, identity and economic profile.
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Partner PerspectivesAug 2, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
Some of the Common Agricultural Policy's advocates have been complaining that it may be too cumbersome to administer.
Sowing the Seeds of the Post-2020 CAP
In June 2013, European politicians approved the first major reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in a decade, following months of haggling over quotas, subsidies and measures to improve environmental accountability. But when the new rules took full effect in 2015, a year behind schedule, some of the same leaders called for changes to policies they said were too cumbersome to administer.
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