It’s been over a year since the most tangible (and some of the most cherished I assume) European Integration project, the Euro, started to look threatened.
Half a year after the Greek bailout (May 2010) came the Irish bailout (November 2010), and another half a year later came the Portuguese bailout (May 2011). What will happen in the next six months?
The Eurozone appears to have run out of ‘weak links’ whose default and even exclusion from the EMU would not be altogether catastrophic but somewhat bearable.
There are now fears of a next (bigger, biggest?!) global financial crisis. And it could well start with the solvency problems of the weakest euro-giants: Spain and Italy.
To some, the question is when the EMU will eventually prove to be an utter failure. To others, what thay are speculating about is how this imminent break-up would be possible, and to what degree.
Will it be a complete return to the the 1990s, with all euro-countries turning back to their national currencies? Or will it rather be a contraction of the Eurozone, scaled back to a core of the most efficient economies that make it up today?
Finally, there are the others – equally narrow-minded as those who rejoyce what they think is the demise of the EMU, because of its insolvent members.
They are the fanatics who insist that “there is no plan B,” therefore the current monetary union ought to survive ‘no matter what’. That is no matter what misery could bring to some countries that should have been part of the EMU in the first place.
There’s no reason to be happy about the prospect of seeing the Euro scrapped as a failed historic experiment, while are also no sane reasons to hold on to the ‘no matter what’ position.
Both the consenquences of giving up the Euro and of trying to preserve the Eurozone as it is today appear to be nothing but disatrous.
Europe and the EU will have to change, irrespective of what happens to the common currency now used in 18 EU states (+ colonies and some non-EU countries).
The turmoil within the EMU spares no country of ripple effects, and – to a certain extent – the fate of the entire ‘civilised world’ as we know it today depends on the ‘fate of the Eurozone’.
Countries like the UK, with it’s GBP, will have slightly more freedom of maneuver, unlike the Euro-slaves tied to decisions taken in Brussels and Frankfurt. However, not even China, Russia, Japan, nor the USA will be spared of what is due to happen on the Old Continent.
The Age of Discovery, two World Wars, problems in the Middle East (and in other former European colonies), almost every ‘world event’ had and has to do with Europe. And now – with the Euro.
Before anything else, one big question should be: what will happen to Germany? How will this great nation cope with the break-up of the EMU, assuming that a ‘reduced Eurozone’ (to 10-12 countries, instead of 17) wouldn’t be such a cataclysm?
It’s worth rasing this question, because here’s another ‘witty bit’ that I learned in the UK, from a British economic analyst (married to a German woman :-).
Considering that “For the past 400 years, all wars in Europe were fought because of German rise to supremacy on the continent,” he described the Eurozone as being “the best way to deal with German hegemony.”
What will we Europeans do if this ‘best way’ will no longer be to hand? Will we have to return to the old ‘worst ways’ in dealing with the strongest nations on the continent?
It’s very likely that those who were not good at playing by the EMU rules won’t be good at ‘alternative ways’ for keeping the statu quo in Europe either :-(
What if all these that we take for granted now – six decades of peace, freedom of movement, European cooperation – were taken away from us? Without all these, even a silly ‘cucumber war’ could lead to a Third World War, couldn’t it?
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