European Voice is announcing its intention to make an award to recognise outstanding leadership in the European Union: the European Leadership Award 2012.
Those shortlisted are Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, Mario Monti, the prime minister of Italy, Radek Sikorski, the foreign minister of Poland, and Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council.
The selection of a successor to Robert Zoellick as president of the World Bank was supposed to initiate a new era of open meritocratic competition, breaking the traditional hold that the United States has had on the job. Indeed, Zoellick’s own appointment was widely regarded as ‘illegitimate’ from that perspective. But US President Barack Obama has let the world down even more distressingly with his nomination of Jim Yong Kim for the post.
Abandoning austerity out of fear that financial markets might be short-sighted would only postpone the day of reckoning, because debt ratios would increase in the long run.
I don’t know about you, writes Mohamed A. El-Erian, but whenever I am in an airplane experiencing turbulence, I draw comfort from the belief that the pilots sitting behind the cockpit’s closed door know what to do. I would feel very differently if, through an open door, I observed pilots who were frustrated at the poor responsiveness of the plane’s controls, arguing about their next step, and getting no help whatsoever from the operator’s manuals.
So it is unsettling that policymakers in many Western economies today resemble the second group of pilots. This perception reflects not only the contradictory pronouncements and behaviour of policymakers, but also the extent to which economic outcomes have consistently fallen short of their expectations.