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Raúl Bajo Buenestado, Professor teaching assistant of Principles of Microeconomics, University of Navarra, Spain

A new "historic" summit

Wed, 14 Dec 2011 12:00:00 +0000 Published in Cordoba Newspaper

Europe is on tenterhooks. The crisis does not seem to have an end in sight in the short term deadline, especially within the so-called peripheral countries, which continue to hinder the harmony that was expected to be found with the creation of the single currency. A single currency whose future, as we have been able to read these days in the media, has been the central topic of the European Union summit held in the city of Brussels; a new occasion for the main politicians of the old continent to take another "historic photo" together. For those less interested in "posturing", the question can only be: what has come out of it all?

First of all, it is true that they have tried to deepen the longed-for idea of fiscal union. A harmonization which, at least for the coming years, must be based on the austerity line indicated by the Germans, and which aims to toughen sanctions for those who fail to comply with stricter criteria. A decision which, in spite of the categoricalness with which it seems to have been established, does not cease to hide shadows: what makes us suppose that if sanctions for non-compliance were not imposed before (although they were contemplated), they will be imposed now? Will countries such as Greece, Spain or Portugal be able to impose a German-style discipline ? What will be the cost in social cuts that will be incurred by these countries? This, it seems, will be left in the hands of the experts of the European Central Bank.

On the other hand, and also by opinion, the topic of the "Eurobonds" is once again ignored; an instrument that would avoid further shocks with the risk premium, which would harmonize the debt of all countries to a single channel, but which the Germans continue to view with suspicion because of the loss of strength they could suffer if they have to forget about their national treasury bonds, at zero risk.

Finally, we cannot remain oblivious to the role of the United Kingdom; despite the abundant criticism received, in my opinion this is a real exercise in responsibility, regardless of any "stay-at-home" attitude: indeed, if you are in the euro, you are in with all the consequences; and if you are not in, you are in with all the consequences as well. Seen in this way: what is the need for the United Kingdom to get entangled in this class of messes arising from the single currency, if it does not have a single currency? Let us not forget that with the same responsibility, British politicians were the first to comply with the agreements signed with the European Union at subject economic, while the many other countries were struggling.

As we can see, in the end the European Union is nothing more than a sort of club, in which each one seeks its own interest, whether or not it coincides with the common one; to believe in Europeanism, in common sentiment, in solidarity between countries or in unique symbols is, I believe, a toast to the sun or to believe in a pantomime which, by the way, seems to be getting closer every day to an ideal that may be attractive in its form, but its content seems to be crumbling by the minute.