A Frenemy for the Euro

by Andrew Stuttaford

With the euro enjoying a period of calm, the Daily Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard stirs the pot a little with this discussion of a new book by one Professor Heisbourg, a product of the French foreign office, eurofederalist, long-term supporter of economic and monetary union and “currently chairman of the very blue-chip International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)”.

So what’s the good professor saying?

That it’s time to scrap the euro.


Evans-Pritchard explains:

At some time in the future, [Heisbourg]  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…. He says Europe’s leaders have lost sight of priorities, seeming to think that the European system must be convulsed and refashioned for the needs of the euro, as if – pre-Copernican – the sun rotates around earth. “You cannot create a federation to save a currency. Money has to be at the service of the political structure, not the other way around,” he says. While he would dearly love to see the great leap forward to an EU federal superstate – which he deems necessary to render monetary union workable over time – this dream is now “pure fantasy”. Attempts to create a “European demos” have obviously failed. The nations are drifting further apart. A referendum on any such concentration of power in the EU institutions would fail almost everywhere. “Integration has reached the limits of legitimacy”, he writes. The EU intrusions once tolerated as “disagreeable” have now become “insupportable”.

Well, yes.  And, no, I would not expect anyone in Brussels to pay much attention.

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