Ireland and the Euro

Will Hutton has said something about the Euro which I bring up every time I discuss it, with friends, colleagues or in blog entries. It is as follows:

Nobody pretends the euro is perfect. It was probably too ambitious to incorporate weak members with the strong so soon.

Too ambitious by half.

Plenty of bloggers are reminding themselves and each other that the euro is not to blame (lib dem voice; Phillip Legrain for example), and principally this is Hutton’s line as well, but rather thinks the union should be reformed – teasing out the difference between left and right wing euroscepticism along the way.

The right may have nationalist and sovereign interests as their main concern, but the left are not opposed to a single monetary union, just opposed to one geared at concentrated capital movement, reducing nations within that union to massive wealth disparities.

Though EU reformers recognise this, and it is precisely Hutton’s point – supporters of the EU, in the name of a free market, are not learning the lessons of history, favouring floating exchange rates and leaving the door wide open for explosions, caused by excessive deficits or surpluses.

The eurosceptic left were never principally opposed to european integration, but much of the convergence criteria in the Maastricht Treaty. But Hutton is one example of someone who is pro-EU addressing those very concerns. Ireland and Greece, if nothing else, will see those ideas taken far more seriously by politicians.



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