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Europa ha perdido el rumbo

WASHINGTON D. C.– La respuesta de Europa a los desafíos estratégicos que enfrenta –la agresión rusa en Ucrania, la huida de los refugiados frente a la violencia en Oriente Medio, y los problemas en África del Norte– dan la impresión de que sus líderes no tienen idea de qué hacer. Y, de hecho, tal vez no la tengan (una realidad que hay que reconocer, en vez de intentar disimularla).

En términos simples, la estancada economía de la Unión Europea está condicionando su respuesta a las presiones externas que enfrenta; las crisis internas han dejado los líderes de la UE con poco margen de maniobra. Afortunadamente, Europa cuenta con los medios para ocuparse de esta crisis, si es que consigue reunir la sabiduría y la voluntad política necesarias.

Los orígenes de los problemas de la UE descansan en su respuesta a la crisis financiera mundial de 2008: dos años de estímulo fiscal a gran escala. Aunque esto no contribuyó demasiado al crecimiento, sí generó una deuda pública agobiante. Siete años más tarde, el producto per cápita en la UE no es mayor que al inicio de la crisis. Mientras tanto, la deuda pública promedio se ha disparado al 87 % del PIB y esto deja poco espacio para la flexibilidad o la innovación en las políticas.

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