Note: This is the english text of an invited Op-Ed that appeared in El-Mundo, one of Spain\'s leading newspapers on Sunday the 11th of September
With Spanish and Italian borrowing costs staying stubbornly high, an increasing possibility of the collapse of the new Greek debt deal agreed just in July and the collapse of growth in Germany and France the Euro area is now in the grip of a serious systemic crisis.
How we got from what started out as a fiscal problem in one of the smaller economies in the Euro area, Greece, to this systemic crisis is a tale of bad politics and bad economics. EU leaders and institutions have failed its citizens repeatedly in the past three years. Sensible policies such as reducing the stock of Greek debt, forcing a greater and faster recapitalization of EU banks and designing a bigger and more flexible European Financial Stability Fund from the outset were rejected by the European Council, Commission or Central Bank, sometimes by all institutions at once.
At a time when the EU most needs to stand together in its response to the crisis, member states have taken to bickering and quarrelling in public. This does not inspire hope for the deeper, fundamental changes to economic governance mechanisms that are urgently required. Without these, the future of both the euro zone and the EU does not look bright.
The EU’s collective response to the crisis exposed serious problems not just with the crisis management apparatus in the Union but also the deficiencies of economic governance during ‘peacetime’. These in turn are the result of not just an absence of technical and legal co-ordination mechanisms but also a lack of political will and leadership.