A study of the economic development of western europe from the early 1950s to the late 1970s the analysis centres on two major questions what forces propelled europe to unprecedented growth rates read more. Unlike other european countries that were also severely hit by the great recession in the late 2000s and eventually received bailouts in the early 2010s such as greece and ireland portugal had the characteristic that the 2000s were not marked by economic growth but were already a period of economic crisis marked by stagnation two . The european union is the second largest economy in the world in nominal terms after the united states and according to purchasing power parity or ppp after chinathe european unions gdp was estimated to be 188 trillion nominal in 2018 representing 22 of global economy nominal global gdp. Certain regions of europe have not recovered from the financial crisis and face prolonged economic stagnation rendering them hunting grounds for populists. The european debt crisis is the shorthand term for europes struggle to pay the debts it has built up in recent decades five of the regions countries greece portugal ireland italy and spain have to varying degrees failed to generate enough economic growth to make their ability to pay back bondholders the guarantee it was intended to be
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