The German impasse

Adam Tooze in Social Europe:

The unceasing debate on issues of principle points to the unresolved and profoundly political nature of Europe’s monetary union. The set of difficulties is familiar. How to ensure the stability of the system? How to achieve convergence? How to pool risk without encouraging moral hazard? How to avoid a one-way ‘transfer union’?

In part the arguments are defined by structural differences which run along national lines—divisions between creditors and debtors. But they are also a matter of political interpretation. Divisions between left and right and differing visions of Europe are tied up with the representation of interests in a cruder sense.

Seismic shocks

The party-political system within which the crisis was managed has, in the process, suffered a series of seismic shocks. This was true first for the countries worst hit: Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Greece, not to mention Hungary and Romania. But political upheaval eventually came to France and to Germany too.

Following the shock election of 2017, which saw the Alternative für Deutschland catapulted into the Bundestag, the effort to form a German government left the French president, Emmanuel Macron—himself a product of the disintegration of the French party system—waiting in vain for an answer to his proposals on European reform. Two years later, the Grosse Koalition in Berlin is again hanging by a thread. And this has implications for the debate about the eurozone.

More here.