The world is clamouring for new ways of developing the competitiveness of countries and regions. People are demanding new public policies aimed at inclusive economic and social development. There is also much talk of the need to strengthen Europe’s competitive role in the world by bolstering both industry and the welfare state. Meanwhile, and despite the aforesaid, we stand slack-jawed as we witness the exchange of favours and backroom deals to place Mr. De Guindos at the head of Eurogroup. How can anyone understand this error of judgement?
Is it possible that anyone in their right mind might think that the policies implemented by the Spanish Government to deal with the crisis could be beneficial to Europe? How can we defend a management record which has managed to worsen the already serious social injustices while maintaining such unacceptably high unemployment rates? Does anyone truly believe that a solid foundation is being laid on which to build a competitive platform for the future?
What distinguishes Europe internationally is the commitment to competitiveness in the widest sense: support of durable wealth creation and the struggle to ensure the social safety net. What Europe has done to achieve this is just the complete opposite of the policies that have been applied by Mr De Guindos as head of the Spanish Ministry of the Economy.
Personally, I have full confidence that Europe will continue to be a key player in the world economy. In order to do so, however, policies must be developed to fight against social injustice, while keeping a commitment to a competitive industry at the top of their agenda. This is the essence of the policies which must be implemented at the heart of the European Union. Although I am sorry to say so, I believe that the possible appointment of Mr. De Guindos would unfortunately take us in the opposite direction of where we need to go.
I agree whole-heartedly with Paul Krugman in his article "Inequality Is a Drag" (International New York Times, 7 Aug. 2014): "There is solid evidence that high inequality is a drag on growth, and that income redistribution can be good for the economy… There’s no evidence that making the rich richer, enriches the nation as a whole, but there’s strong evidence of benefits from making the poor less poor."
Irrespective of who occupies the various posts of the EU, I firmly believe it is now time for a new policy of competitiveness which favours wealth creation and is committed to a more just, caring, and socially responsible European society. I hope that we have learned from this long economic crisis, which is not yet over, and that we make headway in the fight against social injustice, whilst promoting companies which are more and more competitive internationally.
Read the original article published in elEconomista.es (Spanish)