Architects of the European integration never hid their view that this unique historical process was bound to proceed by crises. But they did not consider that a fatal design flaw. Following Machiavelli, they thought that periodic tremors would offer opportunities to correct problems, and to make further progress in binding together Europe’s erstwhile irreconcilable enemies.
These opportunities do exist. As an example, here is what Germany ran up against when it recently tried to set up an effective quick fix for major structural problems that led to the last financial crisis.
Apparently seeking to avoid a long and uncertain process of treaty changes, German Chancellor Merkel proposed, during the euro area summit on December 19, 2013, that member countries sign a “binding contract” with the E.U. Commission with respect to fiscal policy and structural changes they were required to implement.
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