By Andre Sapir
Imagine the US was facing the current crisis with the following situation: only 30 of its 50 states belong to the dollar area; most of the southern states are outside the dollar area and so is New York, home of the US financial centre; the seat of the US government is in Washington, but dollar area chairman Ben Bernanke operates from Pittsburgh and secretary Tim Geithner is mainly governor of Vermont, one of the smallest US states, with a population of roughly half a million.
Absurd? Yet this is exactly what the European Union looks like, with only 16 of its 27 member states belonging to the euro area; most of the eastern states and the UK, home of the EU financial centre, outside the euro area; the seat of the EU institutions in Brussels, but ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet operating from Frankfurt and Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker mainly the prime minister of Luxembourg. Read more