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Hervorming of scheiding in Europa

NEW YORK – Zeggen dat de eurozone niet goed heeft gepresteerd sinds de crisis van 2008 is een understatement. De lidstaten hebben het slechter gedaan dan de landen van de Europese Unie buiten de eurozone, en veel slechter dan de Verenigde Staten, die het epicentrum van de crisis vormden.

De slechtst-presterende eurozone-landen zitten muurvast in een depressie of een diepe recessie; hun toestand – denk aan Griekenland – is in veel opzichten erger dan waar economieën mee worstelden tijdens de Grote Depressie van de jaren dertig. De best-presterende lidstaten van de eurozone, zoals Duitsland, maken een goede indruk, maar uitsluitend in vergelijking met anderen; en hun groeimodel is deels gebaseerd op een “beggar-thy-neighbor”-beleid, waarbij het succes ten koste gaat van voormalige “partners”.

Er zijn vier soorten redenen gegeven om deze toestand te verklaren. Duitsland geeft graag het slachtoffer de schuld en wijst op de spilzucht van Griekenland, en de schulden en tekorten elders. Maar dat is een verkeerde voorstelling van zaken: Spanje en Ierland hadden vóór de eurocrisis overschotten en lage schulden in verhouding tot hun bbp. Dus de crisis heeft de tekorten en schulden veroorzaakt, en niet andersom.

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