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Europe Through American Eyes

Europeans are constantly reminded of all that is wrong with America. But perhaps Europeans should reverse the process: what do Americans think is wrong with Europe?

Above all, Americans see Europe as a continent of self-inflicted stagnation - and with good reason. Economic growth in the EU was near zero in 2003.

Several countries, most notably Germany and France, seem hobbled by inflexible labor markets and regulations that inhibit dynamism. The European Union's highly touted "Lisbon Declaration" of a few years ago, which proclaimed that Europe would become the world's most competitive region by 2010, appears laughable to Americans, whose productivity gains seem to scale new heights constantly.

America also sees Europe as excessively inward looking, sometimes dangerously so. Worse, informed Americans see anti-Semitism running rampant in Europe and xenophobic political parties on the march in country after country. Not even pacific Scandinavia is exempt from this.