European Union finance ministers have brainstomed new ways of stimulating growth of Europe’s sluggish economy at an meeting in Milan.
Since the financial crisis they have focused on budget cuts, as promoted by Germany.
But after France said it needs two more years to put its finances in order, the new buzzword among ministers is investment.
Pier Carlo Padoan, Italian Finance Minister, told a reporter: “There is a different climate in Europe, growth is now the priority of all.”
When asked, “but to do so you need investments, is that ok for Germany too?” he said, “yes absolutely.”
The EU’s top economics official who will oversee growth policies in the new Commission said countries need to change the way they spend money and focus on things that generate growth and jobs such as public works and research and innovation.
“Just one word about structural reforms. Many countries are planning to do structural reforms; this is the most important thing at the moment in Europe,” explained Jyrki Katainen.
But structural reforms take time.
With eurozone employment near a record high, one option to get young people back to work is to create a pan-European market where smaller companies can raise capital, according to a document prepared for a full EU finance ministers meeting on Saturday.