In 2008 the European Commission released a report that documented how the euro had become “a potent symbol of our growing political unity” and “a pole of stability for the global economy”. The report was still warm from the printing press as the western world’s economic system descended into chaos and calamity. Europe was in a sovereign debt crisis and the banking sector was in a state of emergency; the survival of the currency union was brought into question then, and it still remains problematic now.
The global recession was a watershed moment for capitalism and, as the international economy faced an existential crisis, so too did the breakup of the Eurozone seem possible. European leaders had become incapacitated by their own complacency. At the centre of this was the Greek economy; it’s economic recovery was a long process of pain at the hands of extensive loans. But the Eurozone weathered the turmoil and survived.
Eurozone could break up this year if it doesn’t reform, experts warn https://t.co/7VMCrnrLj7
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) January 1, 2019
Now, as economic growth slows – for first half of 2018 Brexit Britain grew more than the Eurozone – all eyes are on the EU’s preparations to equip itself for another crisis. The continental bloc is focused on making improvements in a number of areas: reforms of the European banking union, adjustments to the Eurozone’s fiscal rule framework and developments of crisis-fighting instruments. However, it seems that progress is made difficult by a familiar problem that plagues the EU; friction between Brussels and the respective national policymakers. Recently, this has been evident in Italy, where a series of exchanges about budget deficit targets, between Italian leaders and EU authorities, have led to heightened tensions.
Moreover, internal institutional conflicts continue to blight EU development; The Single Resolution Fund, the bank’s rescue scheme and the European Stability Mechanism, the vehicle for assisting governments, compete over policy direction.
Once upon a time, the likes of Tony Blair and Peter Mandleson slated British exceptionalism and called for deepening economic ties. However, neither the British public, nor the politicians, have ever been convinced by the Eurozone. Now, the UK can once again remind itself that “the Project” is not a standard bearer of progress that it was once projected to be; neither politically, nor economically. So, it could be argued that the European Union’s difficulty is Britain’s opportunity; the more that the EU is in disarray, the more that Britain’s departure is justified.