The EU received the 2012 Peace Nobel Prize. I think it is an helpful reminder of what the whole construct has been about for the past sixty years. Especially when you are critical of men and institutions, gloomy about the future, exhausted by endless postponements, frustrated by the chronic lack of ambition,it is from time to time useful to take some perspective, and recognize what a tremendous success Europe has been and still remains. I still remember my grandmother, terrorized by the German reunification, saying with a sigh: “We are lucky to have the European Union…”
My first class on the EU economy traces a sketchy outline of the developments from Jean Monnet to today. I conclude telling to my (mostly non European) students that whatever they will hear from me over the rest of the semester, mostly
negative horrible things, they should not forget the first class. This project remains a tremendous accomplishment precisely for the reasons that motivated the Nobel prize.
But then we go back to real life. The first thing that came to my mind when I heard the news was this:
Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: “With great power comes great responsibility.” This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I’m
Spider-manThe European Union
Precisely because what they have in their hands is a precious object, our beloved leaders need to get their act together, and do something to preserve it.
Those who speak of Grexit should maybe sit in my first class? Better still, the Spiderman DVD is on sale at Amazon…
In short, we argue that (unfortunately) it will not radically change matters in the EU. The precedent of the London G20 meeting in 2009 is not encouraging. Too many promises ended up being written on the sand…
We also argue that the only possible long term fix for the EMU woes is a radical rethinking of its economic governance, that puts back at the center of the stage discretionary policies.
Finally, out of the meeting should emerge a firm commitment (followed by acts) of the G20 to fight the resurgence of protectionism.
An English version of our piece should follow soon.