With Europe's leaders meeting today to take on the difficult task of righting the EU economy , Javier Solana , former General Secretary of NATO and former EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, weighs in at Project Syndicate . Solana argues that the devotion to austerity measures has proven to be a limited solution, at best, to the EU's problems. "Austerity at all costs is a flawed strategy," Solana writes, and he believes that all efforts at this point should go into priming the pump for growth: Public debt, moreover, should not be demonized. It makes financial sense for states to share the cost of public investments, such as infrastructure projects or public services, with future generations, which will also benefit from them. Debt is the mechanism by which we institutionalize intergenerational solidarity. The problem is not debt, but ensuring that it finances productive investment, that it is kept within reasonable limits, and that it can be serviced with little difficulty. Yet, ominously, the same arguments that turned the 1929 financial crisis into the Great Depression are being used today in favor of austerity at all costs. We cannot allow history to repeat itself. Political leaders must take the initiative to avert an economically driven social crisis. Two actions are urgently needed. At a global level, more must be done to address macroeconomic imbalances and generate demand in surplus countries, including developed economies like Germany. Surplus emerging-market economies must understand that a prolonged contraction in the developed world creates a real danger of a global downturn at a time when they no longer retain the room for maneuver that they had four years ago. Within the eurozone, structural reforms and more efficient public spending, which are essential to sustainable long-term growth and debt levels, must be combined with policies to support demand and recovery in the short term. The steps taken in this direction by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are welcome but insufficient. What is needed is a grand bargain, with countries that lack policy credibility undertaking structural reforms without delay, in exchange for more room within the EU for growth-generating measures, even at the cost of higher short-term deficits. The world is facing unprecedented challenges. Never before in recent history has a deep recession coincided with seismic geopolitical change. The temptation to favor misguided national priorities could lead to disaster for all. Read Austerity vs. Europe here .
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