Responding to the Economic Crisis
20 June 2013
Chamber de Commerce Luxembourg
As the economic crisis in Europe has deepened, two main responses have been advanced: follow the socially harsh and politically difficult path of austerity, or chase growth by borrowing ever more to invest in the economy. In facing the crisis, every country has its legacy issues and sacred cows, as well as its typical cultural positions. Yet, the crisis has undoubtedly exposed structural weaknesses, present to varying degrees, in every economy in Europe, which are contributing to a worrying loss in competitiveness. For Luxembourg and Ireland – two small, open economies, entirely dependent on an ability to trade, and to do so competitively – this has potentially devastating consequences.
Luxembourg has fared better in this crisis than most: unemployment remains one of the lowest in the EU, and its fiscal deficit and borrowing requirements are modest when compared to those most affected. Like many countries, however, it faces its own challenges, not least in its demographic position, education system and reliance on its financial centre. For its part, following the bursting of its massive property bubble and subsequent banking crisis, Ireland was one of the first in the Eurozone to ask for financial assistance from partners. Forced to enter a bailout programme under the scrutiny of the so-called Troika of the ECB, the European Commission and the IMF, the impact has been significant across all of society, including in the public sector.
Against this background, the Ireland Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with Chambre de Commerce Luxembourg and the American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg is pleased to announce an Irish EU Presidency event designed to discuss responses to the crisis in two countries faced with the similar challenge of how to remain a location that both attracts and retains FDI over the long term.
The keynote speaker will be Mr. Brian Hayes T.D. Minister of State for Public Service Reform and the Office of Public Works. After his speech there will be a tour de table from a panel of business figures and economists, which in turn will be followed by an open discussion.
Photo by The Luxembourg Chronicle.