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Alternative Perspectives on Economic Policies in the by Philip Arestis, Malcolm Sawyer (eds.)

By Philip Arestis, Malcolm Sawyer (eds.)

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The ECB should be fully answerable to the European Parliament, and its decisions and operations subject to full scrutiny by that body. But the ECB should also be incorporated within the decision-making processes of ECOFIN, representing the national governments. We would also argue for ECOFIN to be broadened to include representatives of the European Parliament. At the present time, too much power in terms of macroeconomic policy making is in the hands of the European Commission. The Commission views itself as the guardian of the SGP and seeks to impose the operation of the SGP onto national governments.

The euro achieved a new high against the dollar as a result. In the midst of this gloomy picture the ECB is reluctant to lower interest rates, which would help the euro exchange rate to reach a more palatable rate. If anything, though, the ECB is contemplating and leaning towards a rise of the rate of interest; in fact the euro area rate of interest was raised on 1 December 2005, in the midst of no inflation to worry about and a great deal of slack. 8. Achieving full employment The achievement of full employment does require an appropriate high level of aggregate demand.

4 million people (European Commission, 2004: 42). It consists of banking, insurance, stock exchanges and securities trading firms and a number of smaller subsectors. In spite of its moderate size, the sector is extremely important, because together with the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) it forms the basic financial infrastructure necessary for the functioning of the European economy. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the financial sector has been affected by the overall and world-wide neo-liberal strategy of counter-reform envisaging a comprehensive roll-back against the social achievements of the post-war period.

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