Europe Economy

Bernanke: Euro's 'obvious' failures

Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, March 2, 2015 in Washington.
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The euro zone is not delivering on its promises, according to former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

In a Friday commentary penned for the Brookings Institution, Bernanke criticized the "weak performance" of the euro zone as a whole, and the "highly asymmetric outcomes" among countries using the currency.

"The promise of the euro was both to increase prosperity and to foster closer European integration," he wrote. "But current economic conditions are hardly building public confidence in European economic policymakers or providing an environment conducive to fiscal stabilization and economic reform; and European solidarity will not flower under a system which produces such disparate outcomes among countries."

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Framing his questions as of obvious importance to both the continent and the world, Bernanke asked if Europe is holding up its end of the bargain, and if it is providing a "broad-based economic recovery" that would give countries like Greece a chance to succeed. He concluded that "the answers to these questions are also obvious."

The "failure of European economic policy" is in part due to political resistance that delayed necessary policies and overly tight fiscal positions in places like Germany, he wrote.

Read the full commentary on the Brookings site.