April 16, 2015
Burwell: Glass Half-Full in Europe
As global finance ministers convene on Washington for the IMF/World Bank meetings, for the first time since 2008, they can finally view Europe with some optimism. Not only is the economy on track to recovery, but a sense of direction is also returning to the continent’s politics. Many challenges remain, but painstakingly, Europe has turned the corner. This is good news for the United States. Europe is still its most important partner both economically and politically, as seen by the new deal with Iran. A more confident Europe is key to concluding the historic transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) in 2015.
The economic news is now firmly on the upside. Germany is again the continent’s powerhouse, with industrial orders beating analysts’ expectations. Ireland, heavily affected by the 2008 banking crisis, is expected to be the EU’s fastest growing economy this year. Even Italy saw a 39 percent increase in permanent labor contracts in the first two months of the year, compared to the same period in 2014. Sanctions against Russia have proven to be a source of false alarm, with mild impact on European exports.