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  • European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right

    Britain and the rest of Europe are in a mess. Our economies are failing to deliver higher living standards for most people – and many have lost faith in politicians’ ability to deliver a brighter future, with support for parties like UKIP soaring. Are stagnation, decline and disillusionment inevitable?

    European Spring Front cover banner
  • Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After the Crisis — out now

    The financial crisis brought the world to the brink of economic breakdown. But now bankers’ bonuses are back, house prices are rising again and politicians promise recovery – all this while unemployment remains high, debts mount, frictions with China grow and the planet overheats.
    Is this really sustainable – or do we need to change course?

  • Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them

    Immigration divides our globalising world like no other issue. We are being swamped by bogus asylum-seekers and infiltrated by terrorists, our jobs stolen, our benefit system abused, our way of life destroyed – or so we are told. Why are ever-rising numbers of people from poor countries arriving in Europe, North America and Australasia? Can we keep them out? Should we even be trying?

    Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them

I was interviewed about this for Euractiv Greece

Posted 10 Feb 2015 in Blog, Debt, Euractiv, euro, Greece

I was interviewed on Share Radio about the growing political backlash against Merkelism across the eurozone

Posted 06 Feb 2015 in Blog, euro, Greece, Politics

Syrizas linje ett nödvändigt steg mot den skuldlättnad Grekland behöver. Why Greece needs debt relief. My op-ed for Svenska Dagbladet

Posted 05 Feb 2015 in Blog, Debt, euro, Greece, Svenska Dagbladet

From Greece to Spain to France, radical parties are making gains. And the Eurocrats have no one to blame but themselves. My latest column for Foreign Policy

Posted 04 Feb 2015 in Blog, euro, Foreign Policy, Greece, Politics, Spain

I’m quoted by Claire Jones in the FT in her piece on whether the ECB might pull the plug on Greece.

“This is a game of chicken. The ECB is clearly applying pressure on Greece,” said Philippe Legrain, a visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics’ European Institute.

“I’d be very surprised if Mr Draghi wanted to put himself on the front line,” Mr Legrain said. “I very much doubt that an unelected central banker wants to be the person who risks blowing up their own currency. What’s in it for him in being the fall guy?”

Posted 03 Feb 2015 in Blog, Debt, euro, Financial Times, Greece

with Sebastian Dullien, a senior policy fellow at European Council on Foreign Relations, and Nick Malkoutzis, the deputy editor Kathimerini English, Greece’s only English-language daily newspaper. Watch it here


Posted 02 Feb 2015 in Blog, CCTV America, euro, Greece

I was interviewed by Colm O Mongain on Ireland’s RTE1 This Week about the moral, economic and political case for Greek debt relief


Posted 01 Feb 2015 in Blog, Debt, euro, Greece, Ireland
Posted 30 Jan 2015 in Blog, Debt, euro, Financial Times, Greece
Posted 29 Jan 2015 in Blog, CapX, Immigration

Europe needs stimulus. But quantitative easing won’t make the eurozone’s real problems go away. My column for Foreign Policy

Posted 28 Jan 2015 in Blog, euro, Foreign Policy, Monetary Policy

I was interviewed on Share Radio about the consequences of Syriza’s victory in Greece

Posted 27 Jan 2015 in Blog, Debt, euro, Greece

My article on eurozone QE and Greece for CapX

Posted 21 Jan 2015 in Blog, CapX, euro, Greece, Monetary Policy

I was interviewed in the Wall Street Journal by Stephen Fidler on why, contrary to what eurozone authorities claim, Greece needs debt relief

“Of course they are going to say that,” said Philippe Legrain, a former economic adviser to the European Commission.

Mr. Legrain says Greece should have been given debt relief back in 2010 instead of being forced to pay its debts in full—largely to the benefit of banks in Germany, France and elsewhere in Northern Europe—and submit to a harsh austerity program.

Now, saddled with the bleak political and economic legacy of that decision, eurozone governments are just “kicking the can down the road ad infinitum or at least until the current crop of policy makers is retired,” Mr. Legrain said.

He doubts Greece’s debt will fall as a share of its GDP in coming years, and certainly nowhere near the official eurozone projection of below 124% of GDP by 2020. That is in part because he thinks official forecasts for growth are way too optimistic. Those forecasts see nominal GDP growth—real growth plus inflation—of close to 5% from next year to 2020.

He is also skeptical of the assumption that Greece will run primary-budget surpluses—its budget balance before interest payments on debt—equivalent to 4% or more of GDP. That is politically unrealistic, he says. “No other country has done what Greece is being asked to do,” he said.



Posted 16 Jan 2015 in Blog, euro, Greece, Wall Street Journal Europe

You don’t have to be a radical leftist to get that Athens needs debt relief. And a Syriza victory in this month’s elections might be the only way to get it. My column for Foreign Policy

Posted 14 Jan 2015 in Blog, euro, Foreign Policy, Greece

I was interviewed by The Press Project on Syriza’s economic programme for Greece. I said:

While there is much in Syriza’s programme that I don’t agree with, Alex Tsipras is right that Greece needs debt relief in order to recover and that the country should not be bled dry to pay off its foreign creditors. Where are the other voices demanding debt justice? Greece needs them. It’s a tragedy that Greece’s corrupt elites have collaborated with eurozone policymakers at the expense of ordinary Greeks who continue to suffer unnecessarily great hardship. And when new elections are called, Greeks should not be blackmailed by EU leaders into voting for Samaras again. If Angela Merkel was wise, she would make a make a virtue of a necessity and call a debt conference to write down Greece’s debts, as Germany’s were in 1953. Failing that, Greeks need to stand up for themselves and elect a government willing to threaten default on the EU loans, which were not a gesture of solidarity but a bailout of the French and German banks and investors that recklessly lent to Greece, and which are in any case unpayable.

Posted 14 Jan 2015 in Blog, euro, Greece, The Press Project

I was interviewed on Share Radio on 12 January

Posted 12 Jan 2015 in Blog, Debt, euro, Greece

Mon article sur la faiblesse de l’économie allemande pour Books.

Commentaires sur l’article d’Olaf Gersemann et Marianne

Posted 18 Dec 2014 in Blog, Germany

European Spring has been selected as among the Financial Times’ Best Books of 2014.

Martin Wolf wrote:

This is a splendid book on the European malaise. Legrain argues compellingly that policy makers’ response to that crisis was and remains a disaster. He warns that the eurozone is still far from healthy and that the German example, which members are supposed to follow, is a delusion. He notes, too, that the UK’s recovery is built on sand.

Thank you!

Posted 01 Dec 2014 in Blog, European Spring, Financial Times

I took part in a panel discussion on Tonight with Vincent Browne on Ireland’s TV3 that went out on Thursday 27 November and was recorded in Charleville on Saturday 22 November. I argued that while the injustice of eurozone institutions blackmailing the Irish government to impose the bank debt owed to foreign creditors on Irish taxpayers was flagrant, it would be a mistake to leave the EU.

I was invited by the Ballyhea Says No group of citizens protesting against the €64 billion bank debt unjustly imposed on Irish taxpayers by eurozone policymakers, whose determination to right this wrong is admirable.

Posted 01 Dec 2014 in Blog, euro, Europe, Ireland, Media

I was interviewed by the Irish Examiner on how to obtain debt relief on the bank debt unjustly imposed on Irish taxpayers by eurozone policymakers

Posted 24 Nov 2014 in Blog, Debt, euro, Ireland, Irish Examiner