Tag Archives: europe

Checking in across the pond

While the U.S. economy may be seeing a slight tick upward despite poor job numbers, in Europe, the Euro and other currencies are hitting lows against the dollar, and dividing the continent.

PRI reported today on a meeting of European finance ministers to assess the latest troubles.

Some countries such as France and Germany have climbed out of the recession, others have not, and that’s putting a strain on the Euro and the Eurozone governments.
Five Eurozone countries in particular are struggling with negative growth, high unemployment and soaring debt. Economists refer to them by the unfortunate acronym, PIGGS — that’s Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

The BBC’s Gavin Hewitt remarked on the current climate, and found that traditional European industrial leaders losing ground in industry.

China has taken over from Germany as the world’s largest exporter. In speech after speech you detect that Europe is racked with concern over its lack of competitiveness.

Europe is leading on green policy and environmental issues, but as talks in Copenhagen broke down last month, NPR/Foreign Policy commentator Jonathan Holslag noted that the continent may not have the economic strength to support the green trends it’s promoting for the rest of the world.

This ambition to turn the challenge of climate change into an opportunity for economic growth has been entirely missing in the European Union. When melting glaciers started to make newspaper headlines, Europe started to dream of making green power into a sort of soft power. It spent billions to profile itself as a clean-energy champion vis-à-vis China, India, and Brazil. This engagement certainly helped raise awareness, but at the same time Europe failed to engage its own member states.

But there’s one trend where Europe is consistently leading the pack: Fashion. There’s a hat craze that’s hitting Paris, Global Post reports, and these styles harken fashion back to a simpler time. Could berets be an economic indicator, too?

Quick takes

Sometimes all you have is a few minutes to devote to understanding business news. It’s a challenge for some experts to explain things with hours to spare, but a bit of humor and poetry tossed in makes it easier:

Be funny. Most economists are not exactly the stand-up comedian type. But NewsHour’s Paul Solman has found a few that make money funny.

Make it rhyme. The business news of the day in 60 seconds? Not possible!

Marketplace Minute 10/16/09 from Marketplace on Vimeo.

Keep it focused. For a view of the economy from Europe, this podcast from PRI gives the lowdown on what’s going on in four Western European countries in a short feature.

And closer to home, the news from Capitol Hill is condensed into the two minute Power Breakfast podcast each morning by Capitol News Connection. Today, Elizabeth Wynne Johnson looks at job uncertainty at a nuclear plan in Ohio.