Your questions to Gavin Hewitt
- 20 May 2014
- From the section Europe
Are you worried about the euro and Europe's jobs crisis?
In the final run-up to the European elections, the BBC's Europe editor Gavin Hewitt answered your questions in a live Twitter Q&A on Tuesday 20 May.
This is an edited version of the session.
Antonio Gandarinho emails: Will @EU_Commission save the euro or reduce the unemployment rate?
Gavin answers: It was the ECB that rescued the euro but nearly 26 million in EU remain unemployed. Risk for Europe is a low growth region.
Francesco in Milan emails: Is the crisis over the euro currency over?
Gavin answers: Existential threat to euro is over. No one is ready to bet against ECB but many economies still shrinking. Crisis not over.
Brian Farrell emails: What is the EU going to do about wages being undercut by a surplus of cheap Eastern European labour?
Gavin answers: There is free movement within the EU. Workers from Eastern Europe able to go where they find work. Part of being in single market.
Manuel emails: Are the number of jobs being destroyed due to increasing office and factory automation?
Gavin answers: Only partly due to automation. Main reason is falling demand at home. Bank lending tight. Austerity hasn't helped.
Luke Richer emails: who do you envisage as the next UK Commissioner and with what mandate?
Gavin answers: UK wants top post like internal market. Names? Top politician like A Lansley or Andrew Tyrie or A Mitchell - but UK player.
John emails: In Portugal and Italy we see falls in population. How can there be growth in these countries?
Gavin answers: Growth proving elusive in much of eurozone. Weak demand at home. EU says key is making labour markets more flexible.
Question from @YoungScotsUnion: Would countries such as Greece benefit from leaving the euro after bailout package is complete?
Gavin answers: If Greece leaves the euro value of debt will rise but Greece will still need more funding or cut in its debt inside the euro.
Question from @chalkyaug52:When will a points system be brought into force for everyone that wants to be allowed into the UK?
Gavin answers: Cannot happen for Europeans travelling in the EU. There is freedom of movement.
Question from@vidurkalive: Ppl upset with total control resting with Brussels, but breaking up EU will rekindle crisis. Best strategy?
Gavin answers: Even in eurozone countries hit with austerity, most people don't want to leave EU. Best strategy - a reformed EU.
Question from @mikepjba: @BBCGavinHewitt @BBCWorld do you believe ECB will be forced to introduce QE despite German objections?
Gavin answers: Expectation next month ECB will reduce interest rates and pump liquidity into banks. Not quite QE, but on the way.
Question from@theaporium: Isn't describing the EU as having a 'democratic deficit' just newspeak for saying the EU is 'undemocratic'?
Gavin answers: Always key democratic question: If I don't like a policy - who do I hold accountable? EU struggles with that.
Question from@Fellwater:Why is "growth" such an unquestionably good thing? Why is more always better? Are there no alternatives?
Gavin answers: Good question. But unless you have growth of at least 1.5% - unemployment lines don't shrink!
Question from@clark_cabled: Are jobs being destroyed in order to be recreated with worse wage conditions and rights?
Gavin answers: In eurozone austerity being used to cut deficits, make countries competitive by lowering wages. But high social price paid.
Question from@EwanCMacphee: @MartinSchulz nor @JunckerEU want enlargement in near future - but what about Scottish independence issue?
Gavin answers: EU insists countries that become independent - possibly Scotland - perhaps one day Catalonia - would all need to reapply to EU.
Question from@malgemini:Do you believe it will be possible to reform EU to meet Britain's concerns. Have we any allies for reform?
Gavin answers: Will be difficult. There is pressure for reform. No appetite for special deals for UK but we have allies like the Dutch.
Question from@razakam: What powers does EU have to drive economic growth by increasing trade with increasingly wealthy BRIC countries?
Gavin answers: EU has big powers. Recently signed trade deals with S Korea, Canada. Talks with US under way. Trade a driver of growth.
Jim Jones, N Ireland emails: Has UK decision not to take up the euro eroded the living standards of our citizens?
Gavin answers: Not so far. Being outside euro has given Chancellor greater flexibility, and growth in UK strong compared to eurozone.
Question from @oolouglin: Can euro survive with high debt and unemployment in the PIIGS countries? If not, what can be done to save it?
Gavin answers: In short term yes, can survive. Longer term needs growth to reduce debt levels. Tackling unemployment is key test for EU.
Question from@ScipioAfricana: You suggest many want EU despite austerity, but far right seem to be gaining traction. Could end EU?
Gavin answers: Challenge is from far right & radical left. Anti-austerity revolt. Won't end EU - but Euroscepticism growing.
Michael Spring, London emails: Is EU doing anything effective to counter fraud from within?
Gavin answers: EU does talk the talk. But more to do to police cohesion funds etc. To restore trust independent investigators needed.
Myrna, Italy emails: it was a world crisis but did Europe do the right job? What should have been done?
Gavin answers: Euro design flawed. Couldn't have monetary union without union on tax & spending. Needs political union - little appetite.
Question from @MattGarmonsway: Will the EU ever get its own peace keeping force?
Gavin answers: Some want it. The Brits not in favour. Prefer Nato. So may happen but not soon.
Question from@UK_EPP:Should parties have to say who their European political group allies would be before the election?
Gavin answers: Difficult. Many anti-EU parties next Sunday will be looking for allies. Watch out for some strange alliances!
For more tweets from Gavin Hewitt you can follow his Twitter account.