Exiting the Euro Crisis?

A- A A+

Thomas Beukers, MWFMultidisciplinary Research Workshop, Max Weber Programme & Pierre Werner Chair 

By Thomas Beukers, Max Weber Fellow 2012-2013, LAW

On 17 October 2012 the Max Weber Programme, together with the Pierre Werner Chair of the Robert Schuman Centre, organised the second Multidisciplinary Research Workshop of this academic year on “Exiting the Eurozone Crisis”. Professor Tom Cooley (NYU) gave the keynote speech on the question, “The European Crisis: Is there a way out?”, and made an interesting comparison between US states and EMU countries in the two different monetary unions. Prof. Cooley did not mean to advocate that the Eurozone should take the same route as the US. Instead he drew an important lesson from the US experience, “Once you’re in, you’re in.”

In his comments on the keynote speech Professor Youssef Cassis (HEC) raised the question of what historical comparisons we should make. Should we look at design faults of EMU (short-term)? Should we look at long-term historical experience?  Or can we learn from the 1930s (medium-term)?

Contributors to the workshop, which was chaired by Charles Brendon (ECO), also included several current Max Weber Fellows. Aidan Regan (SPS), spoke about the myth of convergence and the abandonment of democracy. He argued that we are dealing with a crisis of demand, not of supply, and that the current troika adjustment programme simply will not work. Michael Rousakis (ECO), provided a Greek perspective to the crisis and argued that the severe, often ill-timed and ill-targeted austerity measures no longer seem to work effectively. His ways out of the crisis include growth strategies, reforms of healthcare, education and justice, the creation of a business-friendly environment and the building of civic-capital. Thomas Beukers (LAW), illustrated that the law of the European Union provides for several routes and instruments to exit the crisis. He argued that so far European politicians have been creative in their use, avoiding cumbersome EU Treaty amendment procedures.

The workshop was well attended, not only by Max Weber Fellows, but also by researchers from the different EUI departments.