Edited by Klaus Liebscher, Josef Christl, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald
Chapter 25: Is EMU a leading indicator for political union? A discussion of five theses
25. Is EMU a leading indicator for political union? A discussion of ﬁve theses Fritz Breuss1 Generally, economic and monetary union (EMU) is seen as the endpoint of economic integration. However, in the case of the European Union, EMU implies an asymmetric economic policy-making architecture with a centralized monetary policy regime but decentralized economic (primarily ﬁscal) policies that remain the responsibility of the member states (see Breuss, 2002a). This requires a complex process of policy coordination. As the recent practice indicates this architecture has been fragile even in the context of the EU-15; it is therefore not farfetched to forecast that it will become even more unstable and complex in an enlarged EU (see Breuss et al., 2003). To sketch the problems connected with enlargement and EMU, I will discuss ﬁve theses in the following. 1. IS THE EMU PROJECT AN EXAMPLE OF A NEW ‘JEAN MONNET EFFECT’? At the onset, EMU was apparently seen as a project with a so-called ‘JeanMonnet eﬀect’: instead of directly establishing a political union or even the United States of Europe, one hoped for its indirect enforcement through the euro. This, however, would imply that the constraints to coordinate economic policy broadly would induce an ever stronger centralization of economic policies in many areas. The short experience with EMU shows that apart from the centralized monetary policy, the economic policy areas have a long way to go towards a properly working European harmonization. Even the delineation of competences in the draft treaty establishing...
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