If we want to keep the Europe we have – we must change it. The European Union needs more integration, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel must lead the way.Let’s put aside Angela Merkel’s economic wisdom in the Greek crisis for the moment. To be sure, as an economics layman with a penchant for fiscal conservatism, Merkel’s alleged toughness sounded reasonable to me, partly because it was well cushioned by enormous generosity. I think she basically had it right, and that her strategy for the euro crisis was better than those of most other folks, including Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, and Yanis Varoufakis. And Marine Le Pen, for that matter.
Right or wrong on the specifics of the Greek crisis, Merkel’s broader positions on the euro, on Greece, and on Europe suffer from a very fundamental contradiction, a contradiction big enough to get us all into deep trouble. Her position is this: the euro must be saved by all means, because Europe’s fate depends on the common currency. “If the euro fails, Europe fails,” as she has said more than once. Merkel wants to preserve deep economic integration, with the euro as its pinnacle, because she fears that if the economic heart of the EU unravels, the entire European construct will follow.
Read the complete article in the Berlin Policy Journal App – July/August 2015 issue.