Europe Should Move to Growth-Boosting Plan, OECD’s Leterme Says

Yves Leterme, deputy secretary-general at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and a former Belgian prime minister, spoke yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg News in Yeosu, south of Seoul.

On interdependent economies:

“Given the interdependence of the economies, I think that the problems of the euro zone which were assessed during a very long period as being the problem of Europe, these problems have become problems of global dimension.

‘‘It’s very clear that the growth figures, the economic development in the U.S., Korea and China is under pressure because of the situation of the euro zone. Within the euro zone, I think a lot of measures already have been taken.’’

On shifting policy to growth:

‘‘I think it is very important now for both the euro zone and the global economy that the shift can be made from tackling the problem of sovereign debt and of bank capitalization, shift from these two problems towards growth-enhancing policies.’’

On pace of decision making in Europe:

‘‘It is fair to say that the European decision-making process takes more time. But in the end, well the leaders deliver and then the measures have to be implemented. Of course, we see sometimes problems in some member states.’’

On whether a weaker currency could help Europe:

‘‘In the long run, what is essential is structural policies that strengthen the global competitiveness of the European Union. Of course, the currency is an important tool and an important element of global trade and of competitiveness positions in the short term. In the long run, the most important issue is putting through structural reforms in terms of the labor market, in terms of skills, in terms infrastructure, research and development.’’

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