Europe’s financial troubles will probably lead the EU and the eurozone to a stronger fiscal system – but only after a bumpy ride this year, according to Simon Johnson, a U.S- based economist who has been prescient about the crisis. In his view, the eurozone can weather an intensifying financial whirlwind at the cost of three crucial conditions:

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On October 7, 2010, Dr. Franc Križanic, Minister of Finance for the Republic of Slovenia offered his perspective on the implications of the economic crisis for his country as well as for the European Union. The first former eastern bloc country to adopt the euro in 2007, Slovenia has been hard hit by the current economic downturn. Following a decade of robust growth, Slovenia’s export driven economy contracted by 7.8 % in 2009 -- the largest drop in the euro area and the first recession since independence. But a combination of bold stimulus measures and financial sector support appears to have stemmed the downturn and GDP is expected to show a modest gain of .6% by year’s end. Minister Križanic asserted that sustainable economic growth will depend largely on increased investment in the development of new technologies. With key economic indicators showing that both Slovenia and Europe are already beginning to emerge from the crises, he concluded that prospects for even further recovery, growth and prosperity are good, as long as a focused and consolidated effort to achieve key goals remains intact.

Click here to view Minister Križanic's presentation.

On September 30, 2010, The European Institute held its Annual Meeting of the Members and Board of Advisors at the Embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.  Discussions focused on U.S. and European efforts to enact comprehensive financial regulatory measures, strengthen economic governance and spur sustainable economic growth. Moderated by Timothy Keeler, Counsel at Mayer Brown LLP, the expert panel included Mark Sobel, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Finance at the U.S. Department of the Treasury; Antonio de Lecea, Minister - Principal Advisor for Economic and Financial Affairs at the Delegation of the European Union; Matthias Sonn, Minister of Economics and Science at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany; and Jeffrey Skeer, International Relations Specialist in the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy.

The panel was followed by a dinner and a lively discussion with David Mark, Senior Editor at Politico and, about the U.S. Mid-Term Elections and their Potential Implications.

As leaders head to Toronto for a G-20 summit meeting this weekend, the stage is set for the EU and the U.S. to air their clashing views about the right priority for national fiscal policies at this stage of the crisis.

The meeting will thus be a sounding board – and little else. Major collective decisions are scheduled for the G-20’s subsequent meeting this fall in South Korea.

But a trans-atlantic clash of views has become increasingly strident about what fiscal strategy to adopt now amid signs of global economic recovery. The Obama administration is publicly urging Europe to copy the U.S. example of continuing to pump money into the system in order to spur economic growth. But key EU leaders – notably Germany – are publicly insisting that it is time to rein in deficit spending to tackle the accumulating (and already monumental) debt.

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Greater budget discipline is a goal that all EU countries are pursuing, with tax increases (including in VAT rates) and often-drastic cuts in government spending. A country-by-country table of these measures being adopted by EU member states has been compiled by the European Institute and is available here as a survey current as of July 1.

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