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Unhappy Union: How the euro crisis - and Europe - can be fixed
     

Unhappy Union: How the euro crisis - and Europe - can be fixed

by John Peet, Anton La Guardia, The Economist
 

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The euro was supposed to create an unbreakable bond between the nations and people of Europe. But when the debt crisis struck, the flaws of the half-built currency brought the European Union close to breaking point after decades of post-war integration.

Deep fault-lines have opened up between European institutions and the nation-states—and often between

Overview

The euro was supposed to create an unbreakable bond between the nations and people of Europe. But when the debt crisis struck, the flaws of the half-built currency brought the European Union close to breaking point after decades of post-war integration.

Deep fault-lines have opened up between European institutions and the nation-states—and often between the rulers and the ruled—raising profound questions about Europe's democratic deficit. Belief in European institutions and national governments alike is waning, while radicals on both the left and the right are gaining power and influence.

Europe's leaders have so far proved the doomsayers wrong and prevented the currency from breaking up. "If the euro fails, Europe fails," says Angela Merkel. Yet the euro, and the European project as a whole, is far from safe. If it is to survive and thrive, leaders will finally have to confront difficult decisions. How much national sovereignty are they willing to give up to create a more lasting and credible currency? How much of the debt burden and banking risk will they share? Is Britain prepared to walk away from the EU? And will other countries follow?

In Unhappy Union, The Economist's Europe editor and Brussels correspondent provide an astute analysis of the crisis. They describe America's behind-the-scenes lobbying to salvage the euro, economists' bitter debates over austerity, the unseen maneuvers of the European Central Bank and the tortuous negotiations over banking union. In the final chapter, they set out the stark choices confronting Europe's leaders and citizens.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This book represents one of the best overviews of the euro's current travails and future prospects. It reflects the virtues of The Economist, where both authors work: the analysis is well informed, concise, sober, and backed by pertinent data.”—Foreign Affairs

“There is plenty of technical matter in Unhappy Union to help anyone trying to grasp what exactly has gone on in Europe these past few years. But what also emerges is the strong impression of a continent still in deep trouble."—The Wall Street Journal

Kirkus Reviews
2014-05-27
Many evenhanded economics tomes are too polite to say it, so leave it to the always opinionated British “paper”—newsmagazine, that is—the Economistto underscore the fact that the euro is a result of a big question that occupied the Allied Powers in the late 1940s: “How to tame the German problem that had led to two world wars?”The answer was to bind Germany to France economically, forever making it unwise for the two to go to war. Couple that with Winston Churchill’s dream of a United States of Europe, and you have the European Union, a decidedly unequal set of partnerships of rich and poor nations. Note correspondents Peet and La Guardia, who are old euro hands, it is tempting to think, after only 15 years of implementation, that the unified currency is a failure, in part due to the fact that it has clearly led to the ability of rich countries to amass surpluses and poor ones, deficits that further the imbalance. National currencies might have required central bankers to be more proactive, imposing such controls as high interest rates and devaluation. Interestingly, by the authors’ account, the chief problem would seem to be not Greece or Spain but Italy, “the perpetual underperformer in the EU,” which, though comparatively well off, lacks the political will to reform its economy: “[T]he fear of moral hazard was acute, in part because nobody trusted Italian politicians to reform.” So cultural and economic differences taken into account, is there any hope for the euro? The authors suggest ways to make it work and hold out hope for its survival, writing thateven thoughthe “political momentum is towards fragmentation, not integration,” nations such as Ukraine still clamor for membership.For students of geopolitics and international economics, the case studies and implications are worth the price of admission.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781610394505
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
06/24/2014
Series:
Economist Books
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
File size:
2 MB

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