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The EMU reform ruse – Part 2

This blog continues the discussion from yesterday’s blog – The EMU reform ruse – Part 1 – where I consider the reform proposals put forward by German academic Fritz Sharpf, which have been held out by Europhile Leftists as the progressive way out of the disaster that the Eurozone has become. Yesterday, I considered his first proposal – to continue with the enforced structural convergence to the Northern model – the current orthodoxy in Brussels. Like Sharpf I agree that the agenda outlined in the 2015 The Five President’s Report: Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union would just continue the disaster and would intensify the political and social instability that will eventually force a breakup of the monetary union. Sharpf’s second proposal is that the EMU dichotomise into a Northern hard currency bloc while the Southern states (and others less inclined to follow the German export-led, domestic-demand suppression growth model) reestablish their own currencies and peg them to the euro with ECB support. While it is an interesting proposal and certainly more adventurous than the plethora of proposals that just tinker at the edges (for example, European unemployment insurance schemes, Blue Bond proposals and the like), it remains deeply flawed. While it is assumed that the Northern bloc would comprise core European nations such as Germany and France, it is not clear that either would prosper under the new arrangement. France and Germany were never been able to maintain stable currencies prior to the EMU. Further, the ‘exit’ proposal ties the poorer nations into a vexed fixed exchange rate arrangement, which would always compromise their domestic policy freedom, just as it did under the earlier versions of the Snake or the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). Far better to just break the whole show up and let the nations go free with floating exchange rates.

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