Paper presented at the Conference “New economic concepts in the current European crises“.
Abstract: The global financial crisis of 2008 hit the economy of the European Union extremely hard. The year 2009 brought recession in the majority of the member states, which induced a desperate crisis management procedure. Common, EU-level crisis management measures took place as well but these have brought little success due to the modest volume of the common budget and the inertia of EU level decision-making aiming at harmonising often contradicting interests.
As for the member states of the EU, there were considerable differences in their initial government finance positions; obviously those countries with a more balanced budget and/or smaller debt-to-GDP ratio had more room to manoeuvre throughout the different stages of the crisis. Accordingly, member states have followed various paths and have experienced various levels of recession in 2009, various levels of upswing around 2010-2011, and have been hit to various extents by the second wave of recession after 2011. Even so, national crisis management measures can be categorised and evaluated according to their successfulness though most member states applied a combination of tools so it may be difficult to isolate the effects of the singular measures. On the other hand, no common strategy was developed for member state level crisis management so most governments introduced their measures individually. There are views that this could not have occurred in any other way due to the path-dependency of the countries.
All in all, Europe is still struggling with a prolonged recession and waning trust in the institutions of the EU as an efficient solution to the crisis, possibly introduced through Europe-wide coordination, is still yet to come.