EMU: The Sustainability Issue
The euro area is experiencing a sovereign debt crisis; as a result, the foundations of its monetary union have been shattered. This crisis, which is an extension of an international financial crisis, shows that the European Union is not an optimum currency area. Robert Mundell’s work remains an indispensable reference on this subject: a monetary union among greatly different countries and propelled by considerably weak solidarity is problematic. In the present context, the possibilities are limited for permanently improving the situation, for transforming sovereign debts into sustainable ones, and for regaining a higher level of growth. Experience seems to show that a single currency cannot accommodate national budgetary policies and that national policies are hindered by the existence of a single currency in a context of asymmetries. Eventually, a scenario where the euro area would collapse becomes highly probable. This paper puts forward a model of debt sustainability and discusses eight related proposals.
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