WASHINGTON, DC – A quiet breakthrough occurred recently in Europe. After more than two years of vacillation, policymakers have moved decisively toward economic and political union. Some have even used the “f-word” – federalism – igniting controversy and fueling urgently needed debate.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has decided to use the ECB’s considerable firepower as a financial backstop for indebted eurozone countries. Additional plans aimed at increasing eurozone countries’ accountability and effectiveness have followed, including a Europe-wide banking union, a common eurozone budget, limited debt mutualization (such as Eurobonds), and even a eurozone parliament separate from the existing European Union parliament. European Commission President José Manuel Barroso capped off the developments with a dramatic – even historic – speech, in which he called for a “federation of nation-states.”