Chapter 3: A short history of the deepening EMU
Taneli Lahti – economist in the Cabinet to the Commission Vice President Rehn – unveils in Chapter 3 how the crisis unfolded from the perspective of a Barroso II Commission insider. Lahti reminds us of the severe macro-economical imbalances that had, despite the warnings also from the Commission, built up in the European economy by the beginning of Barroso’s second term. Subsequent measures taken by the Commission were a combination of efforts to simplify and coordinate the policy processes, and to supervise and enforce Member State actions. The Commission focused on ensuring that the Member States respected the rules they had set from themselves, because the negative consequences of deviations quickly spread across the European economies. While the EU has indeed taken quantum leaps in the effective practical integration of the economic and monetary union, Lahti argues that the problems extend beyond public finances to more structural challenges. The Chapter concludes by contemplating the realms of legitimacy in European politics: European citizens currently seem to have limited appetite to proceed further on the path of European integration towards for example the collection and spending of revenues at the European level. Even the current framework remains contested.
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