Required Reading

This Wofgang Munchau piece is short and packed with thrills!:

So we have two crises now. A still-unresolved eurozone crisis and a crisis of the European Union. Of the two, the latter is potentially the more serious one. The eurozone may, or may not, break up. The EU almost certainly will. The decision by the eurozone countries to go outside the legal framework of the EU and to set up the core of a fiscal union in a multilateral treaty will eventually produce this split.

 The fiscal union likely to be agreed in March may not initially be very effective in resolving the crisis. It focuses on all the wrong issues, mostly fiscal discipline, which is not the real reason why the crisis has spread to Spain or Belgium, for example.

But the eurozone nevertheless made an important political statement. It will not allow outsiders to stand in the way when it needs to act. For the monetary union to survive, its one-sided, ill-conceived fiscal union will have to become more effective. Over time it will have to usurp central EU roles, especially in the internal market. I would expect it to create its own internal market inside the existing one. It will have to develop a highly integrated financial market with a single financial supervisor. In particular, I do not believe that the eurozone will allow a situation to persist where its main financial centre is located offshore. It will also want to set labour market rules and co-ordinate tax policies. In all of those areas, the eurozone and the EU will get into a permanent legal and political conflict, in which the EU acts as a brake on the eurozone’s development.

No doubt the potential for conflict is escalating! What new “curtain” will split Europe?

HT Ilusíon Monetaria

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