The European Union, in the original aim of bringing harmonization and the benefits of scale to the fragmented polities and economies of Europe, now stands as a 3-speed lashup, with 17 in the core Eurozone, 26 in the original outer planetary system, and a lone, what shall be call it – shooting star would be the Tory Eurosceptic choice – but mangy lost planet would be more appropriate. That’s the UK. The European Union is somewhat short of being a perfect Newtonian ellipse.
So perhaps the Euro project was an attempt – if not to square the circle – but to pretend that disparate economies, flying off in different directions, could somehow maintain a finely-tuned orbit? There are many contradictions in the idea of the single currency but the most obvious is that the German manufacturing powerhouse sells its goods on the world market at an exchange rate dragged down by being the same as that of Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Germany should be revaluing but can’t. The proposed new Treaty will set in legal stone the Stability and Growth Pact, which is an epicycle if ever I saw one. This pact, by restricting the annual budget deficit to 3% and public debt to 60% of GDP is profoundly deflationary. To call a deflationary measure a “growth” pact is a cruel joke.
Enough. The epicyclical moments could be multiplied. What is the way out of this towards a true system of European planetary harmony. Well, as the great cosmologist said “I wouldn’t start from here”