Eurocrisis and Eurosclerosis: Similarities and Differences!
The Greek Crisis is on pause, the recent agreement and the reforms approved by the Greek parliament has just pushed the pause button on what it is become more and more a Crisis of The European Union or Eurocrisis. Crisis like the one we are living right know are not new to Europe. During the 70’s and the 80’s we had similar problems to those we are living: the Europe was experimenting high unemployment and the political institutions were paralyzed and the integration process was slow as there were little progress in the completion of the Single Market. Eurosclerosis was overcome with the Single European Act in 1986 which relaunched the integration process.
As already said during the Euroslerosis period the European Institutions were paralyzed, and the integration process was slowed down. What didn’t stopped the whole process was the work of the European Court of Justice, that by his ruling proclaimed and fixed some important European Union Law principles, the most important were the Direct Effect of the Treaties and of Regulations and Directives and the supremacy of the European law. It is thanks to the ECJ rulings that also in period of political institutions’ immobility little progress were made towards a more united Europe.
The overcome of the political impasse was made possible both by an economic recovery and by the creation of an elite movement of business man, cultural elites and policy makers that were demanding for more integration and to actively restart the European process. These demands resulted in the negotiation and in the signing of the Single European Act, the first major EU treaty revisions since the Treaty of Rome, which foresee the completion of the internal market, moving forward with the enlargement process and finally laying the foundations for the European Monetary Union.
In the nowadays Eurocrisis there are similar traits to the Eurosclerosis. First, this crisis it is started as an economic crisis which stopped the integration process. It is true that the economic crisis revealed the fact that the architecture of the European institutions and of the European Monetary Union in particular contains some voids that need to be filled, but it is also true that this crisis stopped the integration process and paralyzed the European Institutions. Similarly to what happened during the seventies we have another European institution that is granting Europe Unity. In this case we have the European Central Bank that is doing everything that it can to prevent the member states economies to collapse and that with “Mario Draghi’s Bazooka” is protecting the whole Eurozone for outside attacks. Also I this case there is the intervention of the ECJ, who in January ruled in favor of BCE’s OMT programme.
What I don’t see now is the formation of an elite that can actively and succefully advocating for taking more steps in deepening integration, and creating new frameworks that could lead Europe out of this situation. More alarmingly we are assisting to a rise of xenophobic nationalism and to a growing rise of anti-Europe sentiment. The current crisis has been transformed also in an trust crisis within the member states and this impede possible talks and negotiation leading toward more integration.
Different it is also the solution to this crisis. As at the time of Single European Act the solution was economic, with the completiotion of the internal market that fostered the economy but little political process was made, this time the solution has to be a political one. Europe needs to further integrate, it needs to create an automatic safety net for economic turbulences both at European and at States level. Europe needs an Eurozone more integrated, less communitarian and more federalized where solutions are discussed and adopted quickly. All these reforms can’t be made if there is no political will for stay united!