Written by Marcin Szczepanski with Eulalia Claros,
The financial crisis began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, starting a worldwide chain reaction. The EU economy contracted for five consecutive quarters, with growth returning only in the second half of 2009. Stimulatory and fiscal actions by national governments and the EU, and the Eurosystem’s loose monetary policy, helped achieve recovery. It was short-lived, however, as in 2010 a sovereign debt crisis resulted from a loss of financial market confidence, with soaring public debt. Yields on government bonds, particularly in the periphery countries, rose dramatically. Ad hoc rescue devices, such as the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, brought the situation under control, later supported by the pledge of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to do ‘whatever it takes’ to save the euro. The acute phase of the crisis ended in 2014, followed by a period of extremely low inflation and weak growth. To boost inflation, facilitate bank lending and stimulate the economy, the Eurosystem relied increasingly on quantitative easing. While 2017 was the EU’s best year since the crises, with economic performance returning to pre-crisis levels, recent data suggest that the momentum is weakening, both in and outside the EU.
Read the complete briefing on ‘A decade on from the financial crisis: Key data‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.