6 EMU: A Unifying Factor

The unthinkable has indeed happened. Twelve European countries have already replaced their national currencies with a new single currency, the euro. And in doing so they have also transferred a big chunk of their sovereignty, and the symbols that go with it, to the EU. Money is at the heart of national sovereignty: the currency has always been seen as a key symbol of nationhood, while monetary policy and the exchange rate constitute major instruments of economic policy. Economic and monetary union is therefore the most important thing that has happened in Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall; and there is surely nothing in its fifty-year history of integration comparable to EMU in terms of political and economic significance.

Few people would have dared to predict such a development as late as 1993, when bilateral exchange rates in the EMS came under massive attack in international markets, while European societies greeted the Maastricht Treaty with remarkably little enthusiasm. EMU has, in fact, a long and turbulent history of ups and downs. Many people repeatedly dismissed it as both unreal and unserious, although few as graphically as John Major, the former Prime Minister of the UK, who said that support for it had 'all the quaintness of a rain dance and about the same potency'. EMU was born at the same time as European political cooperation, the predecessor of the CFSP; and both were meant as bold attempts to venture beyond low politics. Their trajectories have been very different so far: while EMU has already reached the final (irreversible?) stage, the CFSP still has a long road to travel.

EMU provides a real-world laboratory for economists and other social scientists, an unprecedented opportunity to test their theories, while history

-142-

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What Kind of Europe?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • What Kind of Europe? iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: What Kind of Europe? 1
  • Part I Taking Stock 11
  • 2: The Gap Between Politics and Economics—or, Perception and Reality 13
  • 3: Winners and Losers . . . 43
  • 4: And the Rest of the World 66
  • Part II the Main Challenges Ahead 93
  • 5: Economic Governance and Policy Choices 95
  • 6: Emu: A Unifying Factor 142
  • 7: Extending Pax Europea 167
  • Part III Conclusions 201
  • 8: What is at Stake? 203
  • Select Bibliography 223
  • Figures and Table 232
  • Abbreviations 233
  • Index 235
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