Deconstructing the Euro

The eurozone’s current travails stem from the fact that the euro’s exchange rate does not align with member countries' economic positions – a problem that cannot be resolved within the currency union. The only way to restore balance to Europe is to pursue a controlled segmentation of the eurozone, led by Germany and France.

PARIS – In January, Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at the economics research firm Markit, called France “the new sick man of Europe.” With near-zero GDP growth, rising unemployment, and mounting public debt – not to mention counter-productive austerity policies – it is difficult to argue otherwise. Given France’s profound importance to Europe’s economic and political stability, this poses a major threat to the entire European project.

Recent developments confirm Williamson’s diagnosis. French business activity sank to a seven-month low in December. While tax revenues increased by €32 billion ($44 billion) last year, the government deficit fell by a mere €8 billion and public debt increased from 89% of GDP to more than 93%. Meanwhile, unemployment rose from 9.5% to 10.5%.

The obvious conclusion is that austerity is not the answer. Indeed, France must abandon its current policies, for its own – and the rest of Europe’s – sake.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

http://prosyn.org/tslAfdp;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.