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The euro at 20: An enduring success but a fundamental failure

Barry Eichengreen, (2019), “The euro at 20: An enduring success but a fundamental failure”The Conversation, 4 January

So the euro will stumble forward. No one will be happy with its operation. Equally, no one will leave. Progress will be minimal, since there is no appetite for the political union needed to support fundamental reforms.

As a result, the euro remains vulnerable to another crisis. The next crisis could heighten the perceived urgency of fundamental reforms and lead Europe’s citizens to accept the modicum of political integration needed to implement them. So reformed and restructured, the euro would operate better.

Or the next crisis could empower anti-elite, nationalist, anti-EU – that is to say populist – politicians, making it impossible to implement even the modest reforms agreed in 2018.

In which case the euro will function even less smoothly.

Only one thing is certain. History doesn’t run in reverse. For better or worse – and both arguments can be made – the euro is here to stay.