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Whither Europe? The modest camp vs the federalist austerians


Soon after the Great Crisis of the Eurozone struck, Europe decided to treat itpiecemeal – as though each affected country had committed separate and unrelated policy errors. The governing institutions of Europe denied that the difficulties of Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy could be part of a single disaster, spanning at once the realms of banking, public debt and investment.

They placed the full burden of adjustment on the crisis countries – a burden that those countries could not meet, and with a goal, to restore “confidence,” that could never have been achieved by the means chosen. As a result, Europe now faces a chronic depression in its periphery, powerful deflationary forces everywhere else, and a loss of legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens, as the recent European Parliament elections made clear.

Yet from the start, there were voices and proposals that insisted on the systemic, continental, European nature of the crisis. These voices are now returning to the stage. Indeed proposals are multiplying – especially as evidence mounts that the crisis is continuing, despite all the official announcements of its end.

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