Don’t Blame the Euro: Historical Reflections on the Roots of the Eurozone Crisis

The article argues that many of the issues that are causing trouble in the eurozone today had long been debated, but not solved, prior to the beginning of the so-called euro crisis. Three thematic examples are used to show this: the decade-long discussion surrounding economic convergence and the question of a transfer union; the dispute over the alleged use of financial mechanisms as a substitute for addressing structural economic weaknesses; and the development of European banking regulation and supervision before the creation of the single currency. Finally, the article argues that even though some of the features of today’s crises – in particular the debt and deficit issues – were outlined at the time of the euro’s introduction, some important recent developments such as the various new operations undertaken by the European Central Bank were not. This should command modesty and cautiousness in the analysis of the evolution of the euro crisis.

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Published in West European Politics, Volume 37, Issue 6, 2014, pp.1282-1296

The article can be downloaded here, in Open Access.