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The state of the European Union 2012: The failure of austerity

This Report on the State of the European Union analyses a decisive year in the project for Europe. In the midst of a tough economic crisis the very viability of the euro has come in question and thus the very existence of the European Union. At the same time, adjustment policies have impaired social conditions and have inspired a growing distrust of institutions among European citizens.

The EU27 economic indicators for the end of 2012 therefore painted a bleak picture: soaring unemployment (10.8 per cent of the active population), a slip back into recession (-0.3 per cent GDP) and a gorwing public debt ratio (85 per cent). The scenario for the Eurozone was worse and even more so far countries such as Italy, Portugal and Spain. This drama, furthermore, was unfolding in a rather fragile international context; nonetheless, since the overall global situation was generally positive, we cannot lay the blame there.

In this report, produced by Fundación Alternativas and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, we present the results of a rigorous analysis of key European Union events of 2012, performed, in a critical and constructive spirit, by a

group of leading experts. The health of the European Union is scrutinised and a series of proposals and recommendations are made, aimed at informing

decision-making by political, social and economic stakeholders. The report will also, we hope, make a key contribution to the debate on the future of the European Union.

In these pages, the reader will encounter an accurate description of events in the European Union in 2012 and an assessment of their impact on citizens’ lives

The report concludes with a series of recommendations and proposals that summarise the analyses of the individual authors and their opinions on what can be done to ensure that, apart from emerging economically and socially strengthened from this crisis, the democratic legitimacy of the European Union, so essential to restoring confidence and promoting citizenship, is enhanced.

With this report, which is simultaneously published in English and in Spanish, our two foundations, Fundación Alternativas and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung aim to analyse the useful instrument for all those who strive to build a more democratic and sustainable European Union.

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