Periodically, the European Commission puts out a new report or paper on how it is going to fix the unfixable mess that the Eurozone continues to wallow in. I say unfixable because all of the proposed reforms refuse to confront the original problem, which, at inception, the monetary union builders considered to be a desirable design feature – a lack of a federal fiscal capacity
The conclusion that anyone who understands these matters would reach is that the differences between the European nations are so great that such a shift towards a true federation is highly unlikely despite the fact that the EMU could function effectively if the capacity was developed.
The other conclusion is that by failing to solve the inherent design problem either by introducing a full federal fiscal capacity or disbanding the monetary union, the European Commission is setting the Eurozone up for the next crisis.
While there is some growth now, after nearly a decade of malaise, the residual damage from the crisis remains. The private sector still has elevated levels of debt, the banking system is far from recovered (particularly in Italy), the property market is still depressed, governments have elevated levels of foreign-currency debt (euros), and the labour market remains depressed.
What that means is that when the next economic downturn comes – and economic cycles repeat – the crisis will be magnified and the mechanisms set in place as emergency measures to deal with the GFC will fail immediately.
It is only a matter of time.
That is enough for today!