Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

European economy ‘better today than it was a year ago,’ Flaherty says

In July, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced a controversial plan to overhaul the regime that lets consumers seek compensation from an outside arbitrator when they believe they’ve been wronged.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

Jim Flaherty, normally a critic when it comes to Europe's handling of its troubled economy, says political leaders there are starting to turn things around.

Speaking with reporters on a conference call from meetings of G7 finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund in Tokyo, Japan, Canada's finance minister said Europe has made some positive steps in recent months.

Echoing the upbeat tone of some of his counterparts – including U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner – Mr. Flaherty said the outlook for Europe has improved.

Story continues below advertisement

"The situation in Europe is better today than it was a year ago," said Mr. Flaherty.

The minister said there is still more to be done. Recent talk from the IMF of providing more leeway in terms of deficit targets for Europe's hardest-hit members is an option that "is certainly worth considering," he said.

Reports out of Tokyo suggest the IMF's willingness to give more time to highly-indebted European states to repair their finances is not sitting well with Germany, which remains Europe's top lender and biggest fiscal hawk.

Finance ministers are meeting in Tokyo at a time when the IMF recently downgraded its expectations for growth in most of the world's major economies.

"We're all concerned with the fact that the world economy has slowed," said Mr. Flaherty.

Mr. Flaherty also commented on the U.S. economy, where there is growing concern over the possibility of a "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that could be triggered shortly after the November presidential election should Democrats and Republicans fail to craft a clear plan for tackling the deficit.

"The U.S. needs to take steps to get its fiscal house in order," said Mr. Flaherty.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We are behind schedule, but we are still working hard to bring you a new commenting system as soon as possible. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.