A two-year slump, 19 million unemployed and five countries on emergency aid are no reason to take bold, immediate action to spur economic growth, according to European officials set to defend their handling of the debt crisis in Washington this week.
Shrugging off the U.S. Federal Reserve’s stimulus and the Bank of Japan’s reflation campaign, Europe’s economic managers say they are on the right track in propping up the 17-nation euro zone, even if evidence is taking time to filter through.
“The euro area has made further progress in the implementation of its comprehensive crisis-response strategy,” European Union officials will tell the Group of 20 finance ministers this week, according to a draft statement obtained by Bloomberg News at an EU meeting in Dublin two days ago. The bloc expects “a mild recovery setting in toward mid-2013 and strengthening in the second half of 2013 and in 2014.”
That message is unlikely to find many believers at the economic policy gatherings in Washington, which start Thursday. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew appealed last week for a European growth offensive, and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned of a “three-speed” global economy, with Europe stuck in the lowest gear.
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