Ask most people what the causes of the financial crisis were, and you will get an answer encompassing unsustainable bank lending, out-of-kilter US property prices, greedy banks and inept regulation.
Ask the European Parliament what the causes were, and the answer is simpler: not enough European Union.
That is the conclusion of the parliament’s special committee on the financial, economic and social crisis, which after sitting for 18 months and sending delegations to countries hit by the said crisis, has issued recommendations to prevent it happening again. The answer: member states have to boost their contribution to the EU budget from 1.06 per cent of economic output currently to 5-10 per cent. Read more
Fellow Brussels Blogger Peter Spiegel gives a comprehensive account in today’s paper of how European integration is not just slowing down, it appears to be unravelling.
His argument is that the two most visible achievements of the European Union – namely, the single currency and the Schengen passport-free travel zone – are under unprecedented assault.
What about the third and last great European grand projet: the right of EU citizens to live and work anywhere in an EU country other than their own? A core benefit of European integration, it is a used by an estimated 12m Europeans – a population roughly the size of Belgium.
That, too, may be in an early form of trouble, put under pressure by a blend of populism, high unemployment and a lack of political will to defend gains made over the past six decades. Read more