Friday, October 31, 2014

Reuniting Europe

Jean Pisani-Ferry

Is Euro-federalism possible, or even desirable? Will German ties to Russia fatally unbalance the EU? Are Europe’s north/south and east/west divides unbridgeable – and thus unavoidable?

The financial crisis that began in 2008 has tested the European Union like nothing since its founding. In its wake, the Union has begun to wonder whether its great motors – deeper integration and continued enlargement – have lost their energy. Indeed, an implicit question nowadays is whether some members of the club should be forced to leave.

As the financial crisis spread to and across Europe, it fueled fears about the internal imbalances that have mounted since the euro’s creation. Given these imbalances – and a history of suspicion that imposes on them a nationalist narrative – can the EU continue to remain united, much less pursue further integration and enlargement?

Jean Pisani-Ferry, Director of the Brussels-based Bruegel think tank and Professor of Economics at the University of Paris, has made his career in research and policy by addressing such questions. A former adviser to ECOFIN (the EU’s key committee for economic governance), executive president of the French prime minister’s Council of Economic Analysis, and senior adviser to the director of the French Treasury, Jean Pisani-Ferry is essential reading on Europe’s fast-changing political economy.

Every month in Reuniting Europe, written exclusively for Project Syndicate, Jean Pisani-Ferry examines how and why European integration has ended up pulling Europe apart, and provides an insider’s perspective on how Europe’s union can regain its energy and sense of initiative.

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