- The Best Thing Germany Could Do for Europe is Quit the Single Currency – But It Won’t
by Larry Elliott, https://www.theguardian.com/international
EU leaders are saddled with a mechanism that doesn’t work. There are ways to fix that, but not the will.
Even when it was clearly in decline, the Soviet Union commanded loyal devotion. Its admirers could never quite grasp that the nation instrumental in winning the second world war had a broken economy.
The same cognitive dissonance applies to the European Union today. There is the EU as it exists in the minds of its most avid supporters: fast-growing, a defender of progressive values, fighting the good fight against Thatcherism, and marching steadfastly towards greater integration.
Then there is the EU as it really is: struggling economically; wedded to an aggressive form of neoliberal economics; insistent that there is no alternative to a top-down, ever-closer union; and spawning anti-elite parties across the continent.
Like the USSR under Gorbachev, Europe needs radical reform before it is too late because, as George Soros noted last week, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. The EU is saddled with a single currency that doesn’t work but unable to admit it. It has forced its weaker members to suffer the consequences of the euro’s design weaknesses with austerity policies; it has told those who complain about low growth and high unemployment to sort out their own problems through structural reforms (wage cuts and privatisation); and it has failed to comprehend the anger felt at mass immigration, which has increased the pool of readily available cheap labour.