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经济学人:欧盟最大赤字国 法国成欧元区的定时炸弹

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The time-bomb at the heart of Europe

欧洲中心的定时炸弹
Why France could become the biggest danger to Europe’s single currency
为什么法国会成为欧洲单一货币体系的最大危机
The threat of the euro’s collapse has abated for the moment, but putting the single currency right will involve years of pain. The pressure for reform and budget cuts is fiercest in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy, which all saw mass strikes and clashes with police this week. But ahead looms a bigger problem that could dwarf any of these: France.
欧盟瓦解的威胁日益减少,但是实行单一货币政策所带来的痛楚会持续数年。对于希腊来说来自于改革和财政预算赤字的压力是非常大的。葡萄牙,西班牙和意大利本周都发生了大规模的游行示威活动。但是摆在面前的还有一个更大的问题:法国。
The country has always been at the heart of the euro, as of the European Union. President Francois Mitterrand argued for the single currency because he hoped to bolster French influence in an EU that would otherwise fall under the sway of a unified Germany. France has gained from the euro: it is borrowing at record low rates and has avoided the troubles of the Mediterranean. Yet even before May, when Francois Hollande became the country’s first Socialist president since Mitterrand, France had ceded leadership in the euro crisis to Germany. And now its economy looks increasingly vulnerable as well.
法国这个国家是欧洲,也是欧盟的中心。弗朗索瓦·密特朗表示支持单一货币政策因为他希望提高法国在欧盟的影响,否则迟早会败于统一后的德国手里。法国已经从欧盟得到了甜头:它以相对低的利率从而成功规避了地中海地区的问题。即使在五月之前,当奥朗德成为自密特朗,这位转让了法国在欧盟经济危机的主导权给德国的总统后,法国的第一位社会党总统。法国的经济体系已经相当脆弱了。

欧洲中心的定时炸弹.png

As our special report in this issue explains, France still has many strengths, but its weaknesses have been laid bare by the euro crisis. For years it has been losing competitiveness to Germany and the trend has accelerated as the Germans have cut costs and pushed through big reforms. Without the option of currency devaluation, France has resorted to public spending and debt. Even as other EU countries have curbed the reach of the state, it has grown in France to consume almost 57% of GDP, the highest share in the euro zone. Because of the failure to balance a single budget since 1981, public debt has risen from 22% of GDP then to over 90% now.

就像我们的特别报道中提到的,法国仍然具有很大实力,但是其脆弱的部分在欧盟危机中已经体现无疑。法国在近年来与德国的竞争中已经逐渐失去了力量,特别是当德国开始减少开支和进行大的改革后。没有欧元贬值的机遇,法国已经踏上不得不向求助于公共开支和贷款的道路了。即使想其他欧盟国家一样努力的避免走上这条路,仍避免不了其越来越高的GDP消耗--- GDP的消耗已经高达57%,高于其他欧盟区国家。因为从1981年起,由于其对于单一预算的失误,公共债务已经从GDP的22%上升到了如今的90%。
The business climate in France has also worsened. French firms are burdened by overly rigid labour- and product-market regulation, exceptionally high taxes and the euro zone’s heaviest social charges on payrolls. Not surprisingly, new companies are rare. France has fewer small and medium-sized enterprises, today’s engines of job growth, than Germany, Italy or Britain. The economy is stagnant, may tip into recession this quarter and will barely grow next year. Over 10% of the workforce, and over 25% of the young, are jobless. The external current-account deficit has swung from a small surplus in 1999 into one of the euro zone’s biggest deficits. In short, too many of France’s firms are uncompetitive and the country’s bloated government is living beyond its means.
法国的商业氛围也愈加的坏了。法国的公司承担的巨大的劳工和市场的管理条例,特别是高额的税收和欧盟区最高的社保支付。意料之中的,新公司非常的少。法国的中小型企业越来越少,其就业压力也超过德国,意大利和英国。经济停滞不前,甚至在这个季度有所倒退,未来的增长率也是不被看好的。再者,法国将会有超过10%的劳动力,超过25%的年轻劳动力将会无工作可做。在外,现如今的财政状况也令人堪忧,在1999年还小有剩余,如今却成了整个欧盟地区的最大赤字国。总的来说,太多的法国公司没有竞争力,其骄傲的政府也并未发挥出作用。
Hollande at bay Hollande
等待起航
With enough boldness and grit, Mr Hollande could now reform France. His party holds power in the legislature and in almost all the regions. The left should be better able than the right to persuade the unions to accept change. Mr Hollande has acknowledged that France lacks competitiveness. And, encouragingly, he has recently promised to implement many of the changes recommended in a new report by Louis Gallois, a businessman, including reducing the burden of social charges on companies. The president wants to make the labour market more flexible. This week he even talked of the excessive size of the state, promising to “do better, while spending less”.
有着足够的勇气和毅力,奥朗德先生可以开始振兴法国了。他所在的政党在渗入于司法界和各种区域。左派会比优派更容易说服联邦区接受改革。奥朗德先生已经了解到法国缺乏竞争力。更加歌舞人心的是他最近承诺的实行一系列由路易高卢瓦提出的新提案,包括减少公司承担的社保金。这说明,总统想要使劳动力市场更加的活跃。这周他甚至提出要改变现在的状况,承诺“花费最少,做的更好”。
Yet set against the gravity of France’s economic problems, Mr Hollande still seems half-hearted. Why should business believe him when he has already pushed through a string of leftish measures, including a 75% top income-tax rate, increased taxes on companies, wealth, capital gains and dividends, a higher minimum wage and a partial rollback of a previously accepted rise in the pension age? No wonder so many would-be entrepreneurs are talking of leaving the country.
然而面对法国严重的经济问题。奥朗德先生显得力不从心。当他已经开始推行一系列左派的措施,包括最高75%的收入税率,增长公司,财产,资本收入和红利的税收,更高的最低工资,和降低部分之前已经升高的最低退休年龄时,这些措施使商界更难以相信他。因此,越来越多的企业家选择离开这个国家。
European governments that have undertaken big reforms have done so because there was a deep sense of crisis, because voters believed there was no alternative and because political leaders had the conviction that change was unavoidable. None of this describes Mr Hollande or France. During the election campaign, Mr Hollande barely mentioned the need for business-friendly reform, focusing instead on ending austerity. His Socialist Party remains unmodernised and hostile to capitalism: since he began to warn about France’s competitiveness, his approval rating has plunged. Worse, France is aiming at a moving target. All euro-zone countries are making structural reforms, and mostly faster and more extensively than France is doing (see article). The IMF recently warned that France risks being left behind by Italy and Spain.
欧盟政府承诺的大改革已经开始,因为存在的深切的金融危机感,因为投票者相信已经没有选择,因为执政者们相信改变是不可避免的了。尽管如此,以上任何一种都不能形容奥朗德先生和法国。在大选期间,奥朗德先生很少提到对于友好的商业改革的需要,而是更加关注于结束紧缩。他所在的政党始终保持保守态度,对于资本化持有敌意:自从他提出关于法国竞争力的问题,他的支持率便开始跳水。更加糟糕的是,法国的目标一直在变动。所有欧元区的国家都开始实施框架上的改革,并且相对法国来所更快且集中。国际货币基金组织最近警告说法国的危机已经高于意大利和西班牙。
At stake is not just the future of France, but that of the euro. Mr Hollande has correctly badgered Angela Merkel for pushing austerity too hard. But he has hidden behind his napkin when it comes to the political integration needed to solve the euro crisis. There has to be greater European-level control over national economic policies. France has reluctantly ratified the recent fiscal compact, which gives Brussels extra budgetary powers. But neither the elite nor the voters are yet prepared to transfer more sovereignty, just as they are unprepared for deep structural reforms. While most countries discuss how much sovereignty they will have to give up, France is resolutely avoiding any debate on the future of Europe. Mr Hollande was badly burned in 2005 when voters rejected the EU constitutional treaty after his party split down the middle. A repeat of that would pitch the single currency into chaos.
危险的并不只是法国的未来,同样也是欧盟的未来。因为推行紧缩的难度,奥德朗先生正确的纠正了安格拉·默克尔的问题。但是当面对解决欧盟债务危机的政治整合问题时,他又躲了起来。整个欧盟区的调控不得不高于国家的经济政策。法国勉强同意了最近的政府财政条约,这给了Brussels额外的预算上的优势。但是无论是精英还是投票者都对主权转移没有准备,就如他们对结构改革没有准备一样。当大多数国家在讨论他们会给出多大的主权让步时,法国坚定的拒绝关于欧盟未来的讨论。奥朗德先生被惹火上身在2005年当投票者拒绝欧盟的宪法条约时也是他所在政党分裂之后。这样的重复也会使单一货币政策陷入混乱。
Too big not to succeed?
太大不利于成功?
Our most recent special report on a big European country (in June 2011) focused on Italy’s failure to reform under Silvio Berlusconi; by the end of the year he was out—and change had begun. So far investors have been indulgent of France; indeed, long-term interest rates have fallen a bit. But sooner or later the centime will drop. You cannot defy economics for long.
我们最近的关于欧洲国家的特别报道集中在西尔维奥·贝卢斯科尼领导下的意大利的不支持改革上。在年末的时候他出局了,改革得以开始。至今为止,投资者都太娇惯法国了,因此长期利率只跌了一点。但是,迟早生丁会贬值。因为,没有人可以长时间的违背经济规律。
Unless Mr Hollande shows that he is genuinely committed to changing the path his country has been on for the past 30 years, France will lose the faith of investors—and of Germany. As several euro-zone countries have found, sentiment in the markets can shift quickly. The crisis could hit as early as next year. Previous European currency upheavals have often started elsewhere only to finish by engulfing France—and this time, too, France rather than Italy or Spain could be where the euro’s fate is decided. Mr Hollande does not have long to defuse the time-bomb at the heart of Europe.
除非奥朗德先生表示他真诚的承诺改变他的国家坚持了30年的道路,不然法国将会使投资者和德国失去信心。正如一些欧元区的国家已经发现的,市场的敏感度时在快速变化的。危机可能会在明年早期就到来。之前的已经发生在其他地区的欧元的巨大变动同样会吞没法国。法国会超过意大利和西班牙决定欧盟的灭亡。奥朗德先生已经没有多少时间拆除这个在欧洲中心的定时炸弹了。翻译:董睿

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legislature ['ledʒisleitʃə]

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social ['səuʃəl]

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adj. 社会的,社交的
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defy [di'fai]

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