IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The permanent necessity to undervalue the euro endangers Europe’s trade relations


  • Stefan Kawalec

    () (Capital Strategy)


In 2014, the Eurozone, with its huge current account surplus, was a major source of global economic imbalances. This phenomenon could last for a long time. Monetary expansion, which leads to currency depreciation, is the only macroeconomic tool available to the European Central Bank (ECB) to boost the competitiveness of struggling southern economies vis-à-vis countries outside the Eurozone. With the current economic imbalances within the Eurozone, the elimination the Eurozone’s current account surplus through appreciation of the euro would aggravate economic conditions in struggling member countries and could be politically explosive. Some observers hope that the Eurozone’s internal imbalances can be reduced by more expansionary policies in Germany or, in the future, by wealth transfers to be enabled when the fiscal and political union materializes. Both hopes are unjustified. A huge Eurozone current account surplus is likely to persist, and this will lead to tensions with the US and other trade partners. It could especially undermine the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This contradicts a popular view that the European Union needs a single currency to operate successfully in the world economy among big players like the US, China and India. In fact, if the Eurozone countries had (or returned to) their national currencies, linked through adjustable currency bands as proposed in Kawalec and Pytlarczyk (2013 a, 2013 b), trade and current account deficits in countries in crisis could be eliminated through balancing imbalances among present Eurozone members, without the necessity to generate a huge surplus by the Eurozone as a whole. However, a single currency forces the Eurozone to try to desperately generate trade and current account surpluses, which is likely to spark currency wars with its main economic partners. This would impede international trade and diminish the benefits that Europe could achieve from international cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Kawalec, 2015. "The permanent necessity to undervalue the euro endangers Europe’s trade relations," a/ Working Papers Series 1509, Italian Association for the Study of Economic Asymmetries, Rome (Italy).
  • Handle: RePEc:ais:wpaper:1509

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2015
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stefan Kawalec & Ernest Pytlarczyk, 2013. "Controlled dismantlement of the Eurozone: A proposal for a New European Monetary System and a new role for the European Central Bank," NBP Working Papers 155, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.
    2. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2017. "The Euro Trap: On Bursting Bubbles, Budgets, and Beliefs," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198791447, June.
    3. Stefan Kawalec & Ernest Pytlarczyk, 2012. "Controlled Dismantlement of the Euro Area in Order to Preserve the European Union and Single European Market," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 441, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
    4. Alberto Bagnai & Christian Alexander Mongeau Ospina, 2014. "The Impact of an Exchange Rate Realignment on the Italian Trade Balance: Euro vs. National Currency," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot GmbH, Berlin, vol. 60(4), pages 273-291.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Le responsabilità della Germania, e quelle degli Stati Uniti
      by Alberto Bagnai in Goofynomics on 2016-01-01 23:34:00

    More about this item


    Eurozone; Current Account; Euro; Economic Imbalance; National Currencies; Internal Devaluation.;

    JEL classification:

    • E66 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General Outlook and Conditions
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ais:wpaper:1509. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alberto Bagnai). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.