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The TTIP, a false start for Europe

Ernest Urtasun

Europe tries to leave, slowly, the Great Depression that began after the fall of Lehman in 2008. Historians certainly qualify this economic period experienced by the continent as the hardest after the 1930s. A very difficult stage, compounded by a deeply erratic economic policy and an irrational governmental design of Eurozone that has lengthened the crisis and the suffering of many citizens much more than in other economic blocs in the world.

Europe tries to leave, slowly, the Great Depression that began after the fall of Lehman in 2008. Historians certainly qualify this economic period experienced by the continent as the hardest after the 1930s. A very difficult stage, compounded by a deeply erratic economic policy and an irrational governmental design of Eurozone that has lengthened the crisis and the suffering of many citizens much more than in other economic blocs in the world.

Beyond these considerations, the crisis has made in Brussels and other European capitals want to put on the table the lack of competitiveness of the European economy as a determinant of economic difficulties in Europe. A reading which is wrong in my judgment, since the European crisis is a crisis caused by over-indebtedness and the consequent collapse of the financial system. An over-indebtedness caused by an increasingly unequal distribution of wealth that has made credit the only factor sustaining aggregate demand in many European countries, Spain is a paradigmatic case of this demand phenomenon. The lack of investment and rickety demand are the two determining factors that have been caused by a landlord capitalism which removes more and more resources from the productive economy and destroys our industry.

This reflection serves to make an amendment to all the alleged "crisis of competitiveness" of the European economy as a determinant of continental economic blockade. The race for wage restraint has only allowed this to continue with a recurrent pattern in recent years as an increasing transfer of income from labour to capital. Europe can never compete on wages from emerging economies. We can search for competitive gains in other fields such as, now yes, saving and energy efficiency. However, the structural ills of the economy remain, in my view, low demand and investment.

I make this initial reflection and getting into our main topic, because the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement, or TTIP its acronym in English, is sold by its advocates as one of the angular lines of a new European growth strategy based on improving our trade through free competition.

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