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”.


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.

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