December 22nd, 2011
in Op Ed
by Dirk Ehnts
I think that by now it is pretty much clear that the euro is an institution that was perhaps well-meant and maybe therefore weakly grounded in scientific reasoning, but is actively damaging the European project. After the blame game of who is responsible for the imbalances in EMU, we have now two more open fronts:
- Christian Noyer, the governor of France’s central bank, reportedly said that the UK should be downgraded, and not France.
- British Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to build a People’s Front of Europe in opposition to the Popular Front of Europe, as reported by Reuters
Of course, it is good that Europeans discuss. However, it seems that the level of this discussion is quite low and (national) politics is determining the tone. Mr Noyer either does not understand that the UK can print its own money and therefore won’t have problems to repay even huge levels of debt, or he plays national politics. Mr Cameron – who rightly criticizes the ideas of Mrs Merkel – has apparently bowed to national(ist) politics in home and willfully discarded the option of delivering a summit result that we have seen more than once in the last years – which is, none.
The European economies are not synchronized, they have therefore different national interests. Debtor countries want low interest rates and eurobonds, creditor countries low inflation and no transfer union. This to me seems irreconcilable with the current European institutions. I think that 2012 will see the rise of more splinter groups as European economic policies that do not fit all will cause some national politicians to cry foul on Europe. The institutions that the euro was built on are partly responsible for this. European institutions are not by themselves pro-European, and those who argue against the euro are not automatically anti-European.
About the Author
Dr. Dirk Ehnts is a research assistant at the Carl-von-Ossietzky University of Oldenburg (Germany). His focus is on economic integration and economic geography, covering trade, macro and development. He is working at the chair for international economics since 2006 and has recently co-authored a book on Innovation and International Economic Relations (in German). Ehnts has written at his own blog since 2007: Econblog 101. Curriculum Vitae.