There are two levels to the Eurozone crisis. At a more fundamental level, it is a crisis of capitalism spawned by a secular decline in profitability that has given rise to growing indebtedness in the advanced capitalist countries. But the shape that this crisis takes is determined by the European Union’s political configuration, more precisely by the institutional imbalance between a centralised monetary policy and decentralised fiscal policies. This article traces the cause of this imbalance, through a brief examination of the political history of Europe’s monetary union, to the strategic ambivalence of France’s European policy. It concludes by arguing that the current crisis has created political conditions that should push French elites to reconsider their hostility to a more centralised fiscal policy framework for the Eurozone.
political economy, monetary history, European integration
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