Thursday 22 March 2018

Warren Buffett criticises ‘half in, half out’ European Union

THE CHANCES of the US slipping back into recession are "very low", billionaire investor Warren Buffett has said, unless the eurozone crisis escalates further.

The chairman of Berkshire Hathaway also criticised the “half in, half out” European Union structure and called for greater fiscal union.

“They’re in on a common currency but they’re not in on a common fiscal policy or a common culture or common labour practices,” he said. “It can’t be half slave and half free. European leaders need to resolve some of the union’s weaknesses.”

The 17 eurozone members share the same central bank, currency and interest rate policies, but have national sovereignty over tax and budget policies and do not have a system of internal transfers from strong to weak states as in the US.

There won’t be a recession in the US “unless events in Europe develop in some way that spills over here big-time,” Mr Buffett said.

US employers added the fewest workers in a year in May and the economy expanded at a paltry 1.9pc in the first quarter, according to official figures last week. Mr Buffett has been building Berkshire’s portfolio of shares and making capital investments at the company’s railroad and utility units as he bets on growth in the US.

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