The European Monetary Union in 2022

The importance of Europe as an economic and political force in the world has been dwindling in recent years. This process is set to continue in a world with newly emerging powers. We must acknowledge that the challenges of demographics and mobility are mounting drastically. Asia’s population is set to grow by a further 1.7 billion over the next four decades, and Africa, an immense continent five times larger than Europe, will have a population of 2 billion, half of whom will be under 20 years old. Europe on the other hand will see its population fall by 20 million by 2050. No one single country in Europe will be in a position to exert major influence on the foundations and the values of tomorrow’s world economic and political order. Even Germany, with the largest population of all countries in Europe, accounts for only 1.1 percent of the world’s population and, with an aging and shrinking population, even this low percentage will decline further. How successful would Germany be in asserting its views for example on environmental issues, social values or on free market policies for that matter in the international arena if it does not team up with its European partners? This argument is all the more pertinent for the smaller countries of the European Union. 

Therefore, European integration and European unity must be elevated to a new level. A dissolution of the euro would work exactly in the opposite direction, it would weaken Europe in many different areas. A renationalization of currencies would imply a return to more particular policies. Hardly an answer to today’s global challenges. And the political repercussions are often overlooked. Do we really want to put at risk the advances of integration like the free flow of capital, goods, and people or the path towards common foreign and security policies in Europe? Does it make sense to nudge the Nato-member Greece towards exit from the eurozone in a political situation with enormous instability in the Arabic region and growing competition with Turkey and Russia in southeast Europe? The euro is not the raison d'être of Europe, but it is the most important symbol and facet of the deepness of integration. Therefore, the ambition of policymakers should be to eliminate the flaws in the present institutional framework of the euro, to foster integration and unity among the EMU and the EU members. In short: to unite and not to divide the old continent. In the world we live in, European unity is the only way forward if we want to preserve our influence on the international world order, safeguarding our living standards for the coming generations.

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