Euro

 

“In Continental Europe, designs for monetary and political integration dominated the national agenda ever since the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht outlined the terms and conditions for the creation  of a monetary union and a new currency, the Euro. The timing and contents of the Maastricht Treaty were also influenced by politicians’ – not citizens’ – fear of a rising and possibly dominating reunified Germany that might alter Europe’s balance of power.” (p.34)

“In particular Margaret Thatcher, at the time Britain’s towering prime minister championing the virtues of a smaller state and a deregulated market…were trapped in anti-German feelings as confirmed by the ‘seminar she held with several well-known experts on Germany. They had to explain to the Prime Minister that the countries of Eastern Europe actually wanted German investment and that this did not necessarily equate to subjugation.’ Her private secretary’s memo of the seminar alleged that abiding characteristics of the Germans, in alphabetical order included ‘aggressiveness, assertiveness, bullying, egotism, inferior complex, sentimentality.’” (p.34)

“As German unification was about to challenge the balance of power amongst Europe’s leading economies, the European integration process was less concerned with economic growth and job creation than with the distribution and management of political powers amongst its leading members. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, European political integration has obsessed Europe’s entire political elite, in spite of reservations amongst the electorate. In fact, any political ambitions to advance European integration beyond the Common Market have unchained anti-systemic resentment amongst the electorate.” (p.35)

“Almost a decade following the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, European policymakers – with one exception, the British –disregarded the evident lessons from German Monetary Union and successfully pressed forward with European Monetary Union (EMU) and the creation of the Euro, despite deep-seated  economic divergences across its member states. Again, a political class, indifferent to economic costs, was obsessed with both making history as well as fossilizing the balance of economic power within the European Union (EU).” (p.35)

“EMU is the most prolific product of a political elite blinded by a principled obsession, here European integration, and the pursuit of power-centric politicking. It is also an example of a bureaucratic apparatus taking a life of its own beyond the control of voters… The Euro continues to rob its members of a badly needed country-specific monetary adjustment tool.” (p.35)