The crisis of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) has dogged and determined Europe’s political agenda for over two years now. During this time not much has improved but a great deal got worse. Greece’s sovereign debt problems are a rather minor aspect of a crisis that in the meantime has become more and more inclusive. A dangerous mix of misguided crisis management now threatens the very existence of the monetary union.
For actually changing matters all eyes are on Germany. Instead of a breakthrough towards a true European approach to ring in the end of this crisis, one might however ask, what will Germany decide next to make the European crisis carrousel keep going round. Based on blinder analyses of state profligacies the cure is narrowly geared to strict austerity. Countless alternative analyses have tried to broaden the picture and open the way for a more inclusive European approach – with very limited success.
Against this background Social Europe Journal and the FES in Berlin and Europe launched a project to undertake two tasks:
– To map various politico-economic scenarios of the future of the EMU. The goal is to get an unagitated grip of the possible ways ahead and to furnish crisis management with strategic resources to enable it to cope better with unforeseen events and not lose sight of the bigger picture. A key method is to concentrate on a number of crucial drivers of crisis and change.
– To broaden the perspective away from the predominant ‘TV-view’ in Germany about the EMU crisis. For that matter, we included as many country perspectives as possible with the help of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation’s network of contact and offices all over Europe.
In the coming weeks we will publish not only a short version of our scenario analysis, but also a number of comments from progressive practitioners and thinkers around Europe based on the scenarios. The opening article will be written by Maria João Rodrigues, who drafted the underlying scenario analysis and can be downloaded in full length here.
Her study is already a result of an intensive pan-European exchange of views on the decisive development factors, their possible evolution and scenarios for the future shape of the Eurozone arising from their combination. Representatives of academia, politics and civil society from all over Europe have contributed. The options range from continuing to try to muddle through to completing EMU with a fiscal union, if only within the framework of a core-Europe scenario. And realistically, even the break-up of the Monetary Union cannot be ruled out.
We are working for a lively, constructive and progressive debate – as usual on SEJ – in order to enrich and broaden the discourse on policy options in the crisis, both at national and European level. Hopefully, this will help to establish clear positions for or against individual scenarios and thus heighten the awareness of the actors involved in plotting the future course of the Eurozone and of European integration. After all, we still believe in Europe.