The Greek Tragedy That Changed Europe - WSJ.com: "Modern-day Greece may be just and wise, but it certainly has not had an ordered life. As a result, the great opportunity and wealth bestowed by European integration has been largely squandered. And lower interest rates over the past decade—brought down to German levels through Greece being allowed, rather generously, into the euro zone—led to little more than further deficits and a dangerous buildup of government debt."
Jan Björklund was interviewed by Tomas Ramberg yesterday in the program "Lördagsintervjun" and the first question he got was about the crisis with Greece in the Eurozone. His wavering answer made me wonder about the position (FP) has about the Swedish prospective membership in the EMU.
The article above is indicating that Greece and some other countries not really would have been candidates for the EMU and that we are looking at a situation where countries even might start to leave the Eurozone with for them dire consequences. The membership, they argue, gave Greece a too god credit score and let them borrow too much. The EMU, in other words, was bad for Greece and perhaps also for some other countries like Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Italy.
The article seems to paint a very gloom picture for the future of Europe and a potential break-up of the Union in a well off and a less well off region. If I understand this correctly Sweden and Norway would be in the well off area and thus perhaps benefit from membership mostly based on political integrational reasons. Another question to Jan Björklund would then be whether or not such political arguments still exist? Olle Schmidt says that the crisis in these countries is not the failure of individual states but of the monetary union. Schmidt also says that Sweden looses political influence staying outside something Anders Borg also said recently. Per Altenberg is another EMU-positive blogger.
However, Lars Calmfors (DN 15/1) discussed the matter and concluded that the only reason for joining the Euro would be a greater say in the political integration of the EU which is argued against in Tony Johansson's and Jonas Ljungberg's article. They claim the unified interest caused economical differences in the economy that prevents political integration. In my humble opinion then if other countries in the EU would pitch in, the question of political influence attached would arise.
There are, however, break-up tendencies for Europe as such that would argue for staying out of the EMU and that has fuelled a discussion about a Nordic Union. The Visegrad countries, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland tend to join forces now and then. We also have Great Britain that is fairly independent and where strong EU sceptical forces loom. Especially so if the Tories will win this years election which is probable. We have France with its recent discussion about its identity and its almost 50% subscription to the idea that capitalism is dead which makes it unique. It has also flirted with the so called Club Med formation around the Mediterranean. Germany is focused rather to the east and wants to develop Russia.
With recent developments it seems prudent to stay outside the EMU with Norway and Great Britain and await the possible recovery of the ailing states? For the non-economically knowledgeable person the political arguments for joining EMU seem to vanish by the day.
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