Which Road for Europe?
This month, Europe will either sink deeper into economic crisis, or drastically reverse course. The results from the first round of the French legislative elections Sunday are encouraging. Projections suggest that after the second round next Sunday, President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party will either have an absolute majority, or, at worst, a working majority with other left parties. This will increase Hollande’s leverage within Europe as a counterweight to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Merkel’s strategy, for now, has been to change the subject. With insane austerity policies having been inflicted on weak economies at the insistence of the German government, Merkel, confronted with a worsening crisis, has been speaking grandiosely of deeper European integration.
But the kind of fiscal integration that Merkel proposes will take years if not decades, and the European economy is going up in smoke right now. Fiscal and tax integration will be even less plausible if it includes German-style austerity.