The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI)
The essays collected in this volume by authors from different disciplines, backgrounds and nationalities offer reflections on citizenship rights and themes relating to the European crisis, as well as on the necessary steps to revive development in Europe. The informative and functional documentation proposed in the Appendix constitutes a user manual for the potential and concrete application of this new right by European citizens and their various associations.
A European Development Plan to Emerge from the Crisis
1. The Origins of the Crisis
In 2007, the bursting of the housing bubble in the United States led to the most serious crisis that the world economy has faced since the Second World War. The origin of the crisis was financial in nature: US banks granted mortgage loans – the so-called sub-prime mortgages – for private home purchases also to low-income families with the stated aim of promoting access to home ownership for all. In fact, the guarantee for the banks was that the ever growing demand for real estate fostered a continued rise in house prices and the real estate value of homes was the collateral for the repayment of the loan. If the new owners were unable to pay off the mortgage payments, the banks could always repossess the property and put it on the market at a price higher than that of the purchase price and hence the amount of the mortgage.
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