Yves Bertoncini: Debt crisis, sovereignty crisis

Yves Bertoncini
Secretary General of Notre Europe


The calls for more European intervention understandably relaunch the debate about federalism, which is paradoxically focused on the role of the ECB.

First paradox: this debate recalls the fact that the EU is already a federation, which appears not as a myth, either desirable or denounced, but as a useful political tool, based on the joint exercise of some competences (for example in trade or monetary issues) and on the intervention of federal institutions such as the Court of Justice or the ECB.

Second paradox: the massive intervention of the ECB as the lender of the last resort is being presented as the most effective solution to deal with the crisis by a number of actors and commentators; but the same people often refuse any federal future in economic or budgetary terms.

Third paradox: as with other federations, the EU is governed by treaties, which are often negotiated and ratified with great difficulty and which act as a “marriage contract” which one cannot free oneself from without political and psychological damage. These treaties stipulate that the ECB is independent and that it therefore has a vocation to act as it deems useful, to fight against inflation, which has an impact on the growth, competitiveness and social cohesion of European countries, as well as to preserve the financial stability of the Eurozone: it has done up until now, including against the opinion of countries presented as being very influential, such as Germany, without satisfying countries presented as being very demanding, such as France.

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