The divided Eurozone

Mapping Conflicting Interests on the Reform of the Monetary Union

The euro crisis showed how incomplete and vulnerable the architecture of the Monetary Union is. Institutional reforms are slow or stalling due to divergent development perspectives for the Eurozone. This study analyses the conflicting interests among member states involved in the recent reform process. Based on economic theory, a disagreement can be identified between a minority around Finland and Germany, which advocate a “stability union”, and a majority around Italy and France striving for a “fiscal union”. But a far-reaching fiscal and political integration of the Eurozone cannot be achieved against the defenders of the status quo, as the “fiscal union” representatives lack coherence and unity and are struggling with economic problems. The intergovernmental preparation process for the Five Presidents’ Report of 2015, which is examined here, reveals a deeply divided Europe and a European Commission desperately seeking consensus. As the recent Commission White Paper on the Future of Europe aimed to restart the reform debate on the Eurozone, the conflicts identified here are likely to be central to reform negotiations and outcomes.

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