European Divorce?


By Daniel Jasper, Staff Editor

Born from Winston Churchill’s belief that Europe could be unified through economic integration, the European Steel and Coal Commission was established in hopes of fostering economic reliance among European nations.  After evolving into the European Union, this reliance has only increased. And, as the Euro was born, Europe was given its ultimate common denominator.

Ironically, such economic dependencies are now the cause for sour relationships in Europe.  After the Greek political showdown and with an Italian debt debacle looming, there is a growing sense that the E.U. is having trouble keeping it together. Goldman Sachs Asset Management International Chairman Jim O’Neill recently told reporters that several countries might leave the Eurozone because Germany is asking for more financial integration.  Germany, no doubt, is tired of carrying the fiscal burden that is the Eurozone.

Public opinion indicates that there is low confidence in the E.U.’s future.  According to a 2011 European Commission report (pdf), 40% of Europeans believe the E.U. is going in the wrong direction while 31% believe it’s moving in the right direction.  European opinion polls regarding the state of the economy, however, are volatile, and the numbers have surely changed since the ordeal over the Greek bailout.

What would the world look like without the Eurozone and, possibly, the European Union?  The E.U. is not likely to disband anytime soon, but it could lose the economic interdependency that Churchill saw as so crucial to European diplomacy.  Angela Merkel put it best when she stated, “If the Euro fails, Europe fails.” A breakdown of the currency would likely foster resentment among many of the member states, and the continent could revert back to a time when national interests reigned supreme.

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