With unemployment in Europe at its highest level since the creation of the single currency, resentment has been growing over whether strict budgetary discipline is the best way to brace a spiral of debt.
Street protests have been seen across Italy, Spain and Portugal as people reacted to spending cuts that have slowed economies across Europe.
Savings have been wiped out and in Spain, a real estate crash has helped swell unemployment to 25 per cent of the workforce.
Many economists have advocated a greater emphasis on growth, but it has only gained traction among European policy-makers and politicians in the past few weeks.
Paul Krugman, an economics Nobel Prize winner, welcomed the anti-austerity groundswell in Europe, saying the bloc’s voters proved “wiser than the Continent’s best and brightest”.
He said the health of the German economy was “an argument for much more expansionary policies elsewhere, and in particular for the European Central Bank to drop its obsession with inflation and focus on growth”. » | Henry Samuel, Paris | Monday, May 07, 2012