2012-08-01 Europa! (Follow this link for full text)
Posted By: Matthias Paul Kuhlmey
The topic of Europe is already complex when simply trying to appreciate the name given; in Greek mythology, Europa was one of the 3000 daughters of Titan Oceanus, son of Uranus, “the primal Greek God personifying the sky.” The landmass of Europe, however, was named after a Phoenician princess whom Zeus, the “Father of God and Men,” abducted after assuming the form of a dazzling white bull. The Phoenician noblewoman (Europa) later became the Queen of Crete, “the largest and most populous of the Greek Islands,” and “earliest civilization in Europe.”
In 1610, independent from each other, astrologers (Italian) Galileo Galilee and (German) Simon Marius discovered the smallest of the four Galilean Moons, orbiting planet Jupiter (Simon, seemingly, must have lost his place in the naming process). This particular moon, to be named Europa, was often considered “a subject, in both science fiction and scientific speculation, for future human colonization.”
As distant as the concept of space travel and human life seeking new habitat is most people’s understanding of today’s continental Europe and related socio-economic challenges.
Commonly, the word Europe, at least from a geo-political perspective, is used to make reference to only the European Union’s (EU) 27 Member States. The Council of Europe, on the other hand, is currently representing 47 member countries, with the EU nations being included in this count.
Even though Europe is the world’s second-smallest continent by surface area, the EU alone, with nearly 495 million inhabitants, represents the third-largest population after China and India. Economically, the EU is ranked first in the world in output, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $17.577 trillion vs. the U.S., in second place, with $15.094 trillion in GDP.
Given the socio-economic importance of the EU, financial market participants as well as global policymakers continue to be concerned with the evolving second iteration of the Credit Crisis of 2008/2009 – now exposed as a Sovereign Debt Crisis. For numerous European nations it has become difficult, if not impossible, to refinance government obligations in open markets without the assistance of third parties. This situation, paired with a dire balance-sheet crisis of most European financial institutions, has raised concerns over the viability of the EU as an economic region and of its single currency, the Euro (EUR/€), under the European Monetary Union (EMU).
Whereas it is a valuable debate to look at the causes of the crisis, our particular 360 Europa publication is focused on “the way forward” and what investors may have to expect and prepare for in the months to come…
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