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"The EU Summit: Will the Center Hold?"

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at an EU summit in Brussels, Dec. 8, 2011. During a 2-day summit, Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will try to build support for eurozone states to submit their national budgets to much greater scrutiny.
AP Photo

"The EU Summit: Will the Center Hold?"

A Realist in an Ideological Age Foreign Policy Blog

Op-Ed, Foreign Policy

December 8, 2011

Author: Mark Sheetz, Former Associate, International Security Program, 2007–2013; Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2003–2006

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security


In several recent blogs on the euro crisis, Stephen Walt has expressed exasperation with European leaders and pessimism on the fate of the eurozone. His reaction is understandable and consistent with virtually all journalists and economists who study the issue. They are frustrated at the slow pace of European decision-making and the fact that a solution seems obvious. In recent days, demand for action has become nearly hysterical, with analysts, columnists, and editorial writers for the New York Times suggesting that time for a solution is "running short," that "the endgame is fast approaching," that the eurozone is facing a "meltdown," and that a collapse is "perhaps inevitable."

So, what is the solution? Conventional economic wisdom insists that either Germany acquiesce to some sort of bailout or the eurozone is finished. Germany must consent either (a) to the issuance of joint and severally liable Eurobonds or (b) to a policy of monetary easing by the European Central Bank (ECB). The problem is being treated as a technocratic economic matter.  Hence, technocrats have come to power in Greece and Italy. But the matter is essentially political and the crisis turns on central problems of international relations theory, like anarchy, sovereignty, and power....

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For Academic Citation:

Sheetz, Mark. "The EU Summit: Will the Center Hold?." Foreign Policy, December 8, 2011.

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