The launch of the euro saw the creation of a two-tier Europe, but systemic defects led subsequently to the current crisis of the eurozone, resulting in a much more complex and problematic set of core-periphery relations between north and south. The pre-eminent role of Germany in the north is pointing to the lack of democratic legitimacy in the whole construction. The idea of creating a banking union and fiscal union is in principle aimed at restoring unity to the eurozone and ensuring its effectiveness. While negotiations over the banking union are ongoing, the recent fiscal innovations are not even approaching the constitution of a sustainable fiscal union. A more federalistic fiscal structure is needed, but this demands major political leadership.
Michael Emerson and Alessandro Giovannini are respectively Associate Senior Research Fellow and Associate Researcher at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS).
This paper was commissioned by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI). for its “Imagining Europe” publication series, No 2, dated 9 December 2013.The “Imagining Europe” series aims at delineating what kind of governance models the EU could head towards, and which of these models is best suited for the purpose of a more united, effective and legitimate EU. It can also be downloaded from the IAI website.