A New Set of Crises for the EU

by Brendan Brown

European monetary union and free movement of peoples from impoverished East to the rich West will likely be twins in death as they were at birth. It has been a slow but steadfast journey from the Paris-Berlin accords on monetary union and EU enlargement in the 1990s to the biggest symptom yet of disintegration — the UK referendum win for Brexit. Now the train is set to speed up with a high likelihood of crashing along the way. The fantastic bubble in government bond markets which has just got larger will likely add to the severity of the crash and of the related global damage.

The start of the ill-fated journey toward enhanced European integration was marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall. The German government (Chancellor Kohl) wanted a rapid timetable for expanding the EU into Eastern Europe but a long staged timetable for European Monetary Union. In Paris the priorities were the reverse. And so a compromise was reached on an accelerated timetable for both.

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