The Gibson Law Group - May 2021


Millions of families in Europe have relied heavily on government aid for survival, but that’s becoming a concern for the younger generation. European debt hasn’t been so high since World War II, and it’s even outpacing national economies. In France alone, the national debt has risen to 2.7 trillion euros ($3.2 trillion) and will soon exceed 120% of the national economy. While the International Monetary Fund expects growth to bounce back this year to 5.1% in the United States, Europe will likely lag with a rebound of 4.2%. WILL EUROPE BE ABLE TO PAY ITS $3.2T PANDEMIC DEBT?

Yet, as debts skyrocket, economists wonder if it’s possible for Europe to get a “free lunch.”

In the current zero-interest era, strange things are happening. Although the amount of debt companies have taken has grown, the amount that governments pay hasn’t. Countries can now roll over their debt at low interest rates, which is akin to refinancing a mortgage. Banks are also buying government debt, effectively lending around 1.3 trillion euros during the first six months of the pandemic. This makes the debt affordable — for now. Government debt may never have to be fully paid back if central banks keep buying it up. According to the Institut Montaigne, an independent think tank in Paris, public debt could rise to 4 trillion by the end of 2023. Some economists are worried about the risks. What if inflation and interest rates help revive growth too rapidly, forcing central banks to put a complete stop to their easy-money policies? Weaker countries may fall into a debt trap and struggle to pay. Simon Tilford, director of a strategic planning firm in London, told The New York Times, “If inflation starts to return but there’s no growth, then the situation gets a lot trickier.”


Inspired by


• 5 tbsp uncooked Thai sticky rice • 1 lb ground pork • 1/2 tbsp chili flakes • 1/8 tsp sugar • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce

• Juice of 1–2 limes, to taste • 4 small shallots, thinly sliced • 4 green onions, thinly sliced • Cilantro leaves, to taste • Mint leaves, to taste


1. First, make toasted rice powder: In a frying pan over low heat, dry- roast the rice, stirring continuously until it turns golden brown and smells fragrant, about 15 minutes. 2. Let toasted rice cool, then grind into a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle, blender, or food processor. Set aside. 3. In a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, fry pork, breaking it into small pieces as you go, until fully cooked. 4. Remove from heat and add 1 heaping tbsp of toasted rice powder along with all other ingredients. Stir to combine. 5. Taste and adjust, adding more lime juice and herbs to suit your palate. Serve with rice.

When the next recession rolls around, it may be tough to stimulate their economy with this amount of debt on their hands. This worries the younger generation of Europeans, but at least for now, those troubles seem far away in the eyes of those steering European economies through the pandemic.

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