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Maastricht 2.0

Alternatives for monetary union beyond the centralization fetish

SWP Comment 2012/C 31, 25.09.2012, 8 Pages Research Areas

The continuing financial crisis in some member countries of the eurozone has intensified the debate about reforms of the monetary union. It is obvious that the original architecture of the Treaty of Maastricht has to be revised. The two alternatives suggested by the proponents of deeper integration – either deeper integration regarding monetary and fiscal policy, or a return to antagonistic, national policies – are far from being inevitable. By contrast, it is possible to make the monetary union more crisis-proof while at the same time giving the European nations a high degree of responsibility for their own economic development. The frequently cited assertion that transferring – i.e., centralizing – hitherto national competencies to the European level would make fiscal policy and financial regulation easier to manage does not convince. That approach ignores the downside of centralization. Far-reaching centralization may result in new problems and will weaken, not strengthen, the economic dynamism of the EU.