Economic Freedom in Europe saw some advances last year. Yet, structural challenges to the continent’s economies remain, such as costly labor regulations and high tax burdens, according to the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom. Major upsets in 2015 have also shaken the European economies and taxed its leaders, most notably the Greek debt crisis and the record mass migration from the Middle East. While the vast majority of the region’s economies are at least “moderately free” according to the Index scale, high public spending and market-distorting subsidies have brought stagnant growth and mounting debt.
The countries that have done the best – Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia – have enacted policies to curtail spending and shrink government. They have also overcome severe recessions and are outperforming older members of the European Union such as Portugal, France and Italy. Switzerland scores the highest rank of any European county, fifth worldwide and is Europe’s only “free” economy per the Index criteria. Ireland, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom have also advanced on the economic freedom scale. Belarus and Greece have declined, while Ukraine continues to face deeply embedded and long-standing corruption issues as well as the existential threat to its survival posed by Vladimir Putin.
Join us as our panelists discuss how European countries can establish themselves on a path to economic freedom and cement gains already made. Without true economic freedom, the prosperity of Europeans and all the migrants who now seek to join them will be at risk.
More About the Speakers
Dr. Anders Aslund
Resident Fellow, The Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center of the Atlantic Council
Dr. Desmond Lachman
Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Dr. Ted Bromund
Senior Research Fellow in Anglo-American Relations, The Heritage Foundation
Helle C. Dale
Senior Fellow for Public Diplomacy