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欧洲经济为何无力与美中竞争

PATRICIA COHEN

2024年6月6日

法国塞纳河上的货柜。欧洲中央银行前行长马里奥-德拉吉说,欧洲的许多经济组织都是为“昨日的世界”而建立的。 James Hill for The New York Times

Europe’s share of the global economy is shrinking, and fears are deepening that the continent can no longer keep up with the United States and China.

欧洲在全球经济中所占的份额正在萎缩,人们越来越担心欧洲大陆再也无法跟上美国和中国的步伐。

“We are too small,” said Enrico Letta, a former Italian prime minister who recently delivered a report on the future of the single market to the European Union.

“我们太小了,”意大利前总理恩里·科莱塔说,他最近向欧盟提交了一份关于这个单一市场未来的报告

“We are not very ambitious,” Nicolai Tangen, head of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, told The Financial Times. “Americans just work harder.”

“我们没有什么雄心,”全球最大主权财富基金——挪威主权财富基金的负责人尼古拉·坦根向英国《金融时报》表示。“美国人更勤奋。”

“European businesses need to regain self-confidence,” Europe’s association of chambers of commerce declared.

“欧洲企业需要重拾自信,”欧洲商会协会宣称

The list of reasons for what has been called the “competitiveness crisis” goes on: The European Union has too many regulations, and its leadership in Brussels has too little power. Financial markets are too fragmented; public and private investments are too low; companies are too small to compete on a global scale.

造成所谓“竞争力危机”的原因有很多:欧盟的监管法规太多,而该组织在布鲁塞尔的领导层权力太小。金融市场过于分散;公共和私人投资过低;企业规模太小,无法在全球范围内竞争。

“Our organization, decision-making and financing are designed for ‘the world of yesterday’ — pre-Covid, pre-Ukraine, pre-conflagration in the Middle East, pre-return of great power rivalry,” said Mario Draghi, a former president of the European Central Bank who is heading a study of Europe’s competitiveness.

欧洲央行前行长马里奥·德拉吉说:“我们的组织、决策和融资都是为‘昨日的世界’而设计的——新冠疫情之前,乌克兰危机之前,中东爆发冲突之前,大国对抗回归之前。”德拉吉目前正在领导一项关于欧洲竞争力的研究。

Cheap energy from Russia, cheap exports from China and a bedrock reliance on military protection by the United States can no longer be taken for granted.

来自俄罗斯的廉价能源、来自中国的廉价出口、以及对美国军事保护的基础性依赖都不能再被视为理所当然。

04Europe Econ 06 vzlw master1050中国的太阳能发电场。北京和华盛顿的政府已经投入巨资发展替代能源产业。

At the same time, Beijing and Washington are funneling hundreds of billions of dollars into expanding their own semiconductor, alternative energy and electric car industries, and upending the world’s free trade regime.

与此同时,北京和华盛顿正投入数千亿美元,扩大自己的半导体、替代能源和电动汽车产业,并颠覆世界自由贸易体制。

Private investment lags as well. Large corporations, for example, invested 60 percent less in 2022 than their American counterparts, and grew at two-thirds the pace, according to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute. As for per-capita income, it is on average 27 percent lower than in the United States. And productivity growth is slower than other major economies, while energy prices are much higher.

私人投资也同样滞后。例如,麦肯锡全球研究所的报告显示,欧洲大型企业在2022年的投资比美国大型企业少60%,增长速度却只有美国大型企业的三分之二。人均收入平均比美国低27%。生产率增长低于其他主要经济体,而能源价格却高得多。

Mr. Draghi’s report will not be released until after voters across the European Union’s 27 states go to the polls this week to elect their parliamentary representatives.

德拉吉的报告要等到欧盟27个成员国的选民本周投票选出各自的议会代表之后才会公布。

But he has already declared that “radical change” is necessary. In his view, that means an enormous increase in joint spending, an overhaul of Europe’s higgledy-piggledy financing and regulations, and a consolidation of smaller companies.

但他已经宣布,“彻底变革”是必要的。在他看来,这意味着大幅增加联合开支,彻底改革欧洲繁琐的融资和法规,以及整合小型公司。

The built-in challenges of getting more than two dozen countries to act as a single unit have sharpened in the face of rapid technological advancement, growing international conflicts and the increased use of national policies to steer business. Imagine if every state in America had national sovereignty and there were only limited federal power to raise money to fund things like the military.

面对日新月异的技术进步、日益加剧的国际冲突,以及各国日益利用国家政策来引导商业,让二十多个国家作为一个整体行动的内在挑战变得更加严峻。想象一下,如果美国的每个州都有国家主权,只有有限的联邦权力来筹集资金资助军队等事务,那会怎样。

04Europe Econ 03 vzlw master1050欧洲央行前行长马里奥·德拉吉和他的继任者克里斯蒂娜·拉加德。他说,要跟上世界其他地区的步伐,欧洲有必要加大投资。

Europe has already taken some steps to keep up. Last year, the European Union passed a Green Deal Industrial Plan to speed the energy transition, and this spring it proposed for the first time an industrial defense policy. But these efforts have been dwarfed by resources that the United States and China are employing.

欧洲已经采取了一些措施来跟上形势。去年,欧盟通过了一项绿色协议工业计划,以加速能源转型。今年春天,欧盟首次提出了一项工业防务政策。但与美国和中国动用的资源相比,这些努力都显得微不足道

The bloc “is set to fall far behind its ambitious energy transition targets for renewable energy, clean technology capacity and domestic supply chain investments,” the research firm Rystad Energy said in an analysis this week.

研究公司Rystad能源在本周的分析报告中表示,欧盟“在可再生能源、清洁技术产能和国内供应链投资方面,距离其雄心勃勃的能源转型目标将很遥远”。

In Mr. Draghi’s view, public and private investment in the European Union needs to rise by an additional half a trillion euros a year ($542 billion) on the digital and green transitions alone to keep pace.

在德拉吉看来,仅在数字化和绿色转型方面,欧盟的公共和私人投资每年就需要再增加5000亿欧元(合5420亿美元),才能跟上步伐。

Both his report and Mr. Letta’s were ordered by the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, to help guide policymakers when they meet in the fall to draw up the bloc’s next five-year strategic plan.

他和莱塔的报告都是受欧盟执行机构欧盟委员会的委托撰写,目的是在今年秋季开会制定欧盟下一个五年战略计划时,供政策制定者参考。

There is still a sizable contingent in Europe — and elsewhere — that prefers open markets and is suspicious of government interventions. But many of Europe’s top officials, political mandarins and business leaders are increasingly talking about the need for more aggressive collective action.

在欧洲和其他地区,仍有相当一部分人倾向于开放市场,对政府干预持怀疑态度。但欧洲许多高级官员、政界官员和商界领袖越来越多地表示,需要采取更积极的集体行动。

Without pooling public financing and creating a single capital market, they argue, Europe will not be able to make the kind of investments in defense, energy, supercomputing and more that are required to compete effectively.

他们认为,如果不集中公共资金,并且建立一个单一的资本市场,欧洲将无法在国防、能源、超级计算等领域进行有效竞争所需的投资。

And without consolidating smaller companies, it cannot match the economies of scale available to mammoth foreign firms that are better positioned to gulp up market share and profits.

而且,如果不整合小公司,欧洲就无法与那些更有能力吞下市场份额和利润的巨型外国公司相比。

04Europe Econ 02 vzlw master1050法国的火车生产线。意大利前总理表示,欧洲各国首都之间缺乏高速铁路服务“充分体现了”欧盟面临的困难。

Europe, for example, has at least 34 major mobile networks, Mr. Draghi said, whereas China has four and the United States three.

德拉吉举例说,欧洲至少有34家主要移动网络,而中国有四家,美国有三家。

Mr. Letta said he experienced firsthand Europe’s peculiar competitive deficiencies when he spent six months visiting 65 European cities to research his report. It was impossible to travel “by high-speed train between European capitals,” he said. “This is a profound contradiction, emblematic of the problems of the Single Market.”

莱塔说,为研究他的报告,他花了六个月的时间,走访了65个欧洲城市,亲身体验了欧洲特有的竞争力缺陷。他说,“乘坐高速列车在欧洲各国首都之间旅行”是不可能的。“这是一个深刻的矛盾,体现了这个单一市场的问题。”

The proposed solutions, though, can rub against the political grain. Many leaders and voters across the continent are profoundly concerned about jobs, living standards and purchasing power.

然而,提出的解决方案可能会违背政治理念。欧洲大陆的许多领导人和选民都对就业、生活水平和购买力深感担忧。

But they are wary of giving Brussels more control and financial muscle. And they are often reluctant to watch national brands merged with rivals or familiar business practices and administrative rules disappear. Creating a new morass of red tape is another worry.

但他们又不太愿意给予布鲁塞尔更多的控制权和财务力量。他们往往不希望看到本土品牌与竞争对手合并,或者熟悉的商业惯例和行政规则消失。另一个令人担忧的问题是繁文缛节造成的新混乱。

Angry farmers in France and Belgium blocked roadways and dumped truckloads of manure this year to protest the proliferation of E.U. environmental regulations that rule their use of pesticides and fertilizers, planting schedules, zoning and much more.

今年,愤怒的法国和比利时农民封锁了道路,倾倒大量粪便,以抗议欧盟环境法规的大量增加,这些法规规定了他们对农药和化肥的使用、种植时间表、区域划分等等。

Blaming Brussels is also a convenient tactic for far-right political parties looking to exploit economic anxieties. The anti-immigrant National Rally party in France has called the European Union the “enemy of the people.”

对希望利用经济焦虑的极右翼政党来说,指责布鲁塞尔也是一种便捷的策略。法国反移民的政党国民联盟党称欧盟是“人民的敌人”。

04Europe Econ 05 vzlw master1050今年,欧洲各地的农民抗议欧盟实施的过于严格的环境法规。

At the moment, polls are showing that right-wing parties are expected to win more seats in the European Parliament, leaving the legislative body even more fractured.

目前,民意调查显示,右翼政党有望在欧洲议会赢得更多席位,使得这个立法机构更加分裂。

On the national level, government leaders can be protective of their prerogatives. For the past decade, the European Union has tried to create a single capital market to make it easier to invest across borders.

在国家层面上,政府领导人会热衷于维护自己的特权。过去十年来,欧盟一直试图建立一个单一的资本市场,使跨境投资变得更加容易。

But many smaller nations, including Ireland, Romania and Sweden, have opposed ceding power to Brussels or changing their laws, worried about putting their national financial industries at a disadvantage.

但包括爱尔兰、罗马尼亚和瑞典在内的许多小国反对将权力移交给布鲁塞尔或修改本国法律,担心这会使本国金融业处于不利地位。

Civil society organizations are also concerned about the concentration of power. Last month, 13 groups in Europe wrote an open letter warning that greater market consolidation would harm consumers, workers and small businesses and give corporate giants too much influence, causing prices to rise. And they worry that other economic, social and environmental priorities would be sidelined.

民间社会组织也对权力集中感到担忧。上个月,欧洲的13个团体写了一封公开信,警告说,更大程度的市场整合将损害消费者、工人和小企业的利益,并赋予企业巨头过大的影响力,导致价格上涨。他们还担心,其他经济、社会和环境方面的优先事项会被搁置一边。

For more than a decade, Europe has been falling behind on several measures of competitiveness, including capital investments, research and development, and productivity growth. But it is a world leader in reducing emissions, limiting income inequality and expanding social mobility, according to McKinsey.

十多年来,欧洲在资本投资、研发和生产率增长等几个竞争力指标上一直落后。但根据麦肯锡的报告,欧洲在减少排放、限制收入不平等和扩大社会流动性方面处于世界领先地位。

And some of the economic disparities with the United States are a result of choice. Half the gap in per-capita gross domestic product between Europe and the United States is a result of Europeans’ opting to work fewer hours, on average, over a lifetime.

与美国的一些经济差距是自愿的结果。欧洲和美国之间的人均国内生产总值差距,有一半是由于欧洲人选择在一生中平均工作更少的时间。

04Europe Econ 04 vzlw master1050今年2月,抗议者和警察在布鲁塞尔欧盟总部附近发生冲突。一些希望利用经济焦虑的激进政党也加入了反对欧盟法规的行列。

Such choices may be a luxury Europeans no longer have if they want to maintain their standards of living, others warn. Policies governing energy, markets and banking are too disparate, said Simone Tagliapietra, a senior fellow at Bruegel, a research organization in Brussels.

有人警告说,如果欧洲人想要维持生活水平,这样的选择可能是一种奢侈。布鲁塞尔研究机构勃鲁盖尔的高级研究员西蒙·塔利亚皮耶特拉说,管理能源、市场和银行业的政策过于分散。

“If we continue to have 27 markets that are not well integrated,” he said, “we cannot be competing with the Chinese or the Americans.”

“如果我们继续存在没有良好整合的27个市场,”他说,“我们就无法与中国人或美国人竞争。”


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