To handle the sovereign debt crisis in general and macroeconomic imbalances in particular the leading EU institutions (the Troika) adopted two broad approaches: The short-term approach is based on enhancing the Stability and Growth Pact and to imposing fiscal austerity on crisis countries. The medium- to long-term strategy consists of internal devaluation via reducing wage costs. Both approaches were combined with structural adjustment programs in the spirit of the Washington Consensus. The Troika's policy implies an asymmetric adjustment process burdening only crisis countries. This led to the shrinking of demand and output in crisis countries comparable to the Great Depression and brought the European Monetary Union to the edge of deflation. Such polices increase the risk of Japan-style deflation with more than one lost decade.
current account imbalances Euro area economic policies internal devaluation austerity