On September 25, 2018, the European American Chamber of Commerce of New York hosted a breakfast gathering entitled, “Resilient Growth, Uncertain Politics: The Outlook for the EU as it Heads into an Election Year.” The speaker was Pierre Moscovici, EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs. The discussion was moderated by New York Times Economic Scene Columnist Eduardo Porter.
In a 2-hour commentary, including questions and answers, Mr. Moscovici shared with the attendees a short-term outlook for the EU and a view into the long-term challenges.
Mr. Moscovici feels the current populism that is challenging the EU (and the U.S.) comes both from the extreme right and the extreme left, which will result in additional parties participating in the EU Parliament. Despite that, he believes that the right center and left center will hold sway. He stated that while this cultural anxiety creates economic anxiety, the global economy should still grow about 4% annually with the EU contributing 3% annual growth.
Because of low population growth, the EU needs immigration but the rising populist segment of the population rejects this view, causing a challenge for the governments of the various EU countries. However, he emphasized that the common values of the EU remain. They include an open society, a tradition of integration, and the need to welcome asylum seekers. He stated “A Europe that isn’t humanist isn’t worthwhile.” As the EU looks at the U.S., it sees the current U.S. administration operating from a completely different philosophy that is at odds with the EU’s. This will be addressed at the next G20 meeting.
Mr. Moscovici stated clearly that the EU will continue to support multilateralism (win-win) versus bilateralism (win-lose). The EU, with Russia and China, is building tools to continue to operate in Iran, further reducing U.S. influence on this matter.
With regard to Africa, the EU sees the continent as the future of humanity and driver of the world economy. The EU is building a large financial initiative to seed the continent and be partners in its financial growth.
These were just a sampling of the topics addressed in what was a stimulating morning reflecting the timely and high-level offerings from the EACCNY.
The video can be found here.