„Combining Austerity and Growth Measures“
The Austrian Minister of Economics and the President of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce claim a European growth strategy without turning down austerity policies.
“Not growth instead of austerity, but growth and austerity is the right concept for Europe to manage the economic and debt crisis.” Christoph Leitl, President of WKO (Austrian Chamber of Commerce) said.
For Leitl, an unemployment rate of 10% and a youth unemployment rate above 50% in Southern EU member countries are not acceptable. The Fiscal Treaty must be complemented with a pact for growth and employment, Leitl claims and suggests implementing structural reforms. A liberalization of the labor markets and a cut of bureaucracy would be important steps, Leitl thinks. Furthermore, well-directed investments in innovation, research and education are essential, Leitl says.
Reinhold Mitterlehner, Minister of Economics, supports Leitl. Europe would need a growth strategy. At the same time, the austerity policy must be continued. The Fiscal Treaty must be implemented consequently, Mitterlehner argues. In order to conquer the debt crisis, Europe must stimulate economic growth. At the moment, the EU has enough funds, but these funds must be used more efficiently, Mitterlehner claims.
Leitl thinks that the introduction of a financial transaction tax could help the EU to manage the crisis. Moreover, costs could be shared more equitably. “We also need a strict regulative framework for the financial markets in order to prevent a repetition of the financial crisis of 2008.”
In 2013, The EU-Commission expects economic growth to reach 1.3% in the EU and 1.0% in the Eurozone. This year, economic growth in the EU stagnates. The Eurozone only faces a growth rate of 0.3%. The situation in Austria is more favorable: Leitl points out that the Austrian economic growth will amount to 0.8% in 2012 and 1.7% in 2013.