Are the Barbarians at the EU Gates?

The Greek crisis poses an almost existential challenge – and has required such huge sums – because it poses the key question of European governance: can a member state of the EU be allowed to fail? As long as EU leaders cannot answer that question, financial markets will continue to harbor doubts about the euro’s long-term stability.

BRUSSELS – The euro area confronts a fundamental crisis that attacks on financial speculators will do nothing to resolve. The European Council of Ministers had to promise hundreds of billions of euros to its financially imperiled member countries, even though the European economy as a whole is not really in crisis. On the contrary, most surveys and hard economic indicators point to a strong upswing, with the one country that is in really serious trouble, Greece, representing only 3% of the area’s GDP.

Nevertheless, the crisis poses an almost existential challenge to the European Union – and has required such huge sums – because it directly implicates the key underlying principle of European governance: the nature of the state. The case of Greece has raised the simple but profound question: can a member state of the EU be allowed to fail?

One view is that the state is sacrosanct: the EU has to intervene and help any errant member to get back on its feet. But this view assumes that all member states adhere to the Union’s underlying economic values of fiscal prudence and market reform. Problems could arise only because of unanticipated shocks, temporary local political difficulties, and – the favorite culprit – irrational markets.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/vp2KzB6;
  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.