LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - The outgoing chairman of euro zone finance ministers warned on Thursday against complacency among politicians on pending reforms as the euro zone economy gathers speed.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who will step down in mid-January, said that as growth accelerated and unemployment fell, politicians found it increasingly difficult to “fix the roof” when the sun was shining and to prepare for the next storm.
Asked what advice he would give his successor, who is to be chosen on Dec 4 from candidates of Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia and Luxembourg, Dijsselbloem said: “Be very careful about complacency. You know the politicians always say ‘there is no time for complacency’. Well, I am very worried that we are coming into complacency territory,” he said.
“Things are going so well, the banks are better, the economy is better, I see too many politicians relaxing and really we need to do more work,” he said.
He noted that all 19 euro zone countries were growing at a rate between 1.5 and 6 percent, and the outlook for the single currency area was good, with investment picking up and exports on the rise.
But he warned that “we are not there yet.”
“Member states should really use the current time to strengthen their growth potential improve productivity and become more resilient. Now is the time to fix the roof — become resilient to possible future shocks,” he said.
Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, editing by Robin Emmott