Project Europe in Trouble

Behind the glitz, here in the heart of Continental luxury, Europe is in trouble.

European leadership is in disarray – not only in Greece.

Should we have expected more? 

I was asked yesterday by an Indian reporter here, whether I think China’s leaders are as disappointed with the Greek Prime Minister as his European counterparts.

Interesting question.

My answer was “no.”  That China’s leaders have a fairly sober view of the European situation.  Not because Beijing, or Asians, are not concerned.  Or do not care.  They do.  They hope that European leaders will come forward with a clear roadmap, so that others can then figure how to contribute, and when.  So that the Continental crisis does not spread further.

For Asians, the perspective on Europe is very different.  Over the three weeks before Cannes, I was in and out of research and policy meetings in Beijing and Hong Kong.

Even before the drama here, policy insiders in the Chinese capital and the global financial center questioned whether Europe was willing to fully owe up to the depth of its problems.  Whether the European deal –which lies in limbo– was big enough, robust enough, to deal with the reality of Southern Europe’s problems?  They noted that Europe is facing a worsening crisis of credibility with financial markets.

At the heart of the sober assessment, lies concern about whether European representative have yet to come clean on their situation, starting from the 2007-09 global financial crisis, and henceforth.  The bank “stress tests” which Europe offered up have been less than convincing.  And now on the sovereign debt situations in Southern Europe.

Time to join Asia in hoping for less drama, more financial transparency, and more results.

Gregory Chin is chair of CIGI's China Working Group, acting director of CIGI's Global Development program, and a faculty member at York University. Dr. Chin is available for further comment at the International Media Centre in Cannes today.

The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.