Emmanuel Macron and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker John Macdougall/Getty Images

欧元区的三个前途

华盛顿—在经历了动荡的一年后,欧洲政坛似乎开始稳定下来。尽管极右翼的德国另类选择党(AfD)在最近的德国联邦选举中赢得近13%的选票,但并未给总理默克尔的领导权造成严重威胁。在欧洲工程的另一个支柱法国,总统马克龙能够倚赖坚强的议会多数。而尽管围绕英国退欧的细节还存在很多不确定性,但几乎没有人怀疑,不论欧盟采取什么计划,英国都不再是其中一分子。

The Year Ahead 2018

The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

Order now

因此,现在的问题是,欧盟,尤其是欧元区,会如何前进。有三种可能。

第一个选择是欧盟委员会主席容克在上个月的盟情咨文中所描述的“更加统一的联盟”。容克的愿景拒绝了多速的欧洲,支持欧盟所有成员齐头并进。这首先意味着扩大跨境自由的申根区,将保加利亚和罗马尼亚也包括进来。容克还呼吁建立一个欧洲社会标准联盟(European Social Standards Union),就单一市场的福利权益形成统一的认识。

对于欧元,容克强调它要成为整个欧盟的货币,而不仅仅是一部分国家的货币。据此,欧盟应该追求建立一个全面的银行联盟,其中,各成员国的银行规则和监督要统一起来。经济和金融事务委员应该成为欧洲财政部长,而欧洲稳定机制(European Stabilization Mechanism)应该成为欧洲货币基金(European Monetary Fund)。

一年前,如此“强硬”的一体化根本毫无可信度可言;毕竟,英国绝不会支持它。但如今,英国退欧已是板上钉钉,容克的愿景也有了一些可信度。

尽管如此,容克的“单速”一体化方针仍然饱受争议。因此,马克龙也抛出了他自己的宏大愿景,其中不少与容克的方案遥相呼应,但马克龙的方案允许欧盟内部存在差异,至少在中期是如此。

比如,如果波兰不想采用欧元,就不应该强迫它这样做,并且这一决定也不应该妨碍其他欧元区国家继续迈向一体化。因此,马克龙希望建立一个单独的欧元区议会,由它来决定不适用于欧洲议会全体成员的事务。各国所追求的一体化程度的不同不应该妨碍任何国家——或每一个国家——最终加入欧盟深度一体化的“核心”。

欧元区的第三种——似乎也是最有可能的一种——前途是一切照旧。引起加强一体化——有时是更加分裂——的呼声的经济危机已经过去了,目前欧元区GDP增长率超过2%,失业也大幅减少。甚至是希腊——从某种程度讲,它是唯一一个仍陷在危机模式中的国家——也一直能够勉强维持。

在这样的环境下,决策者很可能会如同此前多次发生过的那样,将宏大的欧元区改革计划往后推,认为危机期间所采取的改革已经足够。这让他们有更大的空间关注其他领域——如能源、数字监管和移民等——从当前的情况看,这些领域更加需要紧急关注。

如果决策者真的按照这条路走,将带来严重的风险。承让,目前欧元区运转良好,而其他领域的关键性改革也确实很重要。但货币联盟仍然有一个根本性缺陷:其成员国失去了用汇率进行调整的能力,同时又没有一个能够阻止国家间成本分化的机制。

一种机制是加强服务业劳动力流动性。但即使欧元区国家统一进一步实施劳动力市场自由化,工人们也将面临很高的文化和语言壁垒。无论如何,如果不存在任何这样的机制,最终导致上一次经济危机的趋势,很有可能还会导致新的危机。

在经历了危机之后,如果未来出现成本分化加剧的信号,欧元区国家间的利率差异将比上一次危机中更快地扩大,这将是一个早期警告信号。尽管如此,由于仍然累积着大量债务并且大量救援资金已经消耗掉,新的冲击可能带来灾难性后果。

据马丁·沃尔夫(Martin Wolf)报道,经济学家亚当·雷里克(Adam Lerrick)提出了一种机制,让利息差异突然变化的受益人将所得收益转入一个“融资成本稳定账户”,当利率冲击消退后返回。但是,和其他欧元区改革一样,这一机制需要欧元区成员国之间达成一致。

默克尔仍然在组建新的联合政府,因此,现在无法确认欧洲会在未来几年采取怎样的一体化方针。但她的执政联盟将包括疑欧派的自由民主党和支持一体化的绿党,而她本人的基督教民主党介于两者之间,因此,大踏步追求宏大的全欧盟一体化的目标可能性很低。

一个更加现实的选择是多速方案,欧元区国家能够继续前进,其他国家可以等一等。结果不会完美,但要比现状更好——好得多。

http://prosyn.org/sbPTJsT/zh;

Handpicked to read next

  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now