Will The Incredible Lacuna Be Rectified?

In 1992, Wynne Godley wrote a terrific London Review of Books article Maastricht And All That pinpointing the exact defect in the Maastricht Treaty. He wrote about an “incredible lacuna”:

… The incredible lacuna in the Maastricht programme is that, while it contains a blueprint for the establishment and modus operandi of an independent central bank, there is no blueprint whatever of the analogue, in Community terms, of a central government …

The New York Times has Wolfgang Schäuble, the German federal minister of finance, for the Saturday Profile this weekend.

According to the article he will push for a treaty change:

MR. SCHÄUBLE said the German government would propose treaty changes at the summit of European leaders in Brussels on Dec. 9 that would move Europe closer to the centralized fiscal government that the currency zone has lacked. The ultimate goal, Mr. Schäuble says, is a political union with a European president directly elected by the people.

and also that

He sees the turmoil as not an obstacle but a necessity. “We can only achieve a political union if we have a crisis,” Mr. Schäuble said.

Schäuble had penned an Opinion piece on the Financial Times, a couple of months ago

where he wrote

Hence my unease when some politicians and economists call on the eurozone to take a sudden leap into fiscal union and joint liability. Not only would such a step fail to durably solve the crisis by addressing only its most superficial symptoms, but it could make it worse in the medium term by removing a key incentive for the weaker members to forge ahead with much-needed reforms. It would also go against the very nature of European integration.

Wolfgang Schäuble, failed to see the crisis coming, but he has a point – it is the other side of the debate to the recent calls to the European Central Bank to act as a lender of the last resort to national euro area governments. Mervyn King made a similar point recently. Schäuble, however wants to manufacture a crisis to force national governments to implement reforms while he gives a blueprint for increasing the powers of the European Parliament. A bit sadist isn’t it?

Seems it is too late! There is a new buzz phrase in financial markets: “redenomination risk”.

Update

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard calls Schäuble the most dangerous man in the world 🙂

German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble – the most dangerous man in the world – is imposing a reactionary policy of synchronized tightening on the whole eurozone through the EU institutions, invoking a doctrine of “expansionary fiscal contractions” that has no record of success without offsetting monetary and exchange stimulus. What is abject is that EU bodies should acquiesce in this primitive dogma.

Leave a Reply

Comments are welcome, but not published—see comments policy. Required fields are marked *