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Thinking about Europe without the euro?
by Newropeans-Magazine
2010-03-13 10:26:30
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When Iceland went bankrupt, this was positive news for Europe. European politicians told their citizens that this example shows how essential European integration really is. This would never happen in one of the EU member states. Iceland desperately wants to become a member state soon to ensure its economical stability.

The tone of European politicians is quite different now that Greece is almost Newropeans-Magazinebankrupt too. Some of them suggest that Europe cannot handle such a situation, because the monetary union does not work when there is not a political union too. Europe does not help Greece, it is threatened by it.

It appears that an economic crisis is not necessarily good news for the EU. The EU wanted to build an image as the great savior of the European economy, as when the non-member state Iceland had economic problems. But can this role as a savior be sustained now that the Union has problems with its own member states?

Some economists claim that the lower rate of exchange of the euro is a blessing, because this rate has been too high for a very long time. But this cannot hide the fact that the monetary union is in deep problems. Greece is part of that monetary union and economists at least disagree whether the other member states will suffer from the consequences. Some even doubt whether the euro has a future without a political union.

!’ This is what many citizens will think. These are not the citizens who want the EU to develop into a political body, but citizens who want to get rid of the euro.

The irony is that according to opinion polls a large part of the European citizenry never liked the euro or the monetary union.  They show that many people still remember the good old days of the guilder, Dmark and franc. These critics are relieved that they had it right after all: there are serious doubts about the long term sustainability of the euro and some openly ask the question whether the national currencies were better in the first place.

Things change: critics of European integration have heard for years that there ideas were those of the past, but now it seems justified to think that European integration went too far, to fast.

This is enriching for the European political debate. From now on, we need to take critical accounts of European integration more seriously than ever before. It could be time for a serious debate inside the Eurogroup about the political merits of the euro if we don't want to experiment the geopolitical dislocation of the Euroland. But our politicians, are they able to understand these political and  democratical issues?
Chris Aalberts*
Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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