Speculation that Greece may abandon the euro has been circulating ever since the country’s troubles began in 2010, but now there’s a new question: what if France leaves first? That’s looking more likely with the publication of François Heisbourg’s new book The End of the European Dream, which calls for Europe to abandon the currency in order to salvage the rest of the union. This is startling because Heisbourg is no Euroskeptic, but a member of France’s foreign policy establishment and a true player at the European layer. The Telegraph has more:
At some time in the future, he insists, Europe’s leaders should relaunch the euro, but only after they have established the necessary federalist foundations, and only among a vanguard willing to accept the full implications of a federal currency.The call to “put the euro to sleep” for Europe’s own good is a new twist. We heard a little of this from Germany’s AfD anti-euro party, but they had other baggage. The Heisbourg book is a head-on challenge to the Merkel Doctrine (largely rhetorical, contradicted by Germany’s actions) that a collapse of EMU would stir up all the old demons of the 20th century.
Calls to abandon the euro from within the establishment are especially bad news for euro-boosters because there is already a large and growing call for leaving the euro from outside the establishment. The FT’s Gideon Rachman warns that Europe may soon be faced with its own version of the Tea Party, as populist, anti-Euro parties gain ground in EU member states:
As the Tea Party has demonstrated in the US, anti-establishment radicals do not need to capture the position of president or prime minister to gum up the system. Even if traditional pro-EU centrists continue to lead most national governments in Europe, their room for manoeuvre at EU summits is greatly reduced if populist parties are making big gains back home. A Dutch prime minister who fears the anti-EU Freedom party – which is topping the opinion polls at present in the Netherlands – will find it much harder to agree to a new bailout for southern Europe. Similarly, a British leader who is losing ground to the UK Independence party will be driven to take more extreme positions in EU negotiations.
The Euro consensus shows serious signs of breaking down.[Euro image courtesy of Shutterstock]