Sadly, the unbearable lightness of the euro area politicians gives no confidence in their resolve to rally around their single currency -- an epochal achievement and a unique symbol of European unity.
Euro leaders, anyone?
The serious and continuing degradation of the political situation in France is the main reason for my euro pessimism. France has been the country that originated and carried most of the policies and institutions designed to bring a hostile and divided continent back together. France, unfortunately, seems in no position to play that noble role anymore.
France is mired in a deep economic and fiscal crisis, and its leader is one of the country's most unpopular acting presidents ever. An opinion poll, published last Saturday (May 30), shows that 77 percent of the French people don't want President François Hollande to run for re-election in 2017. His main rival, the former President Nicholas Sarkozy, fares no better: more than 70 percent of the French would not support his presidential candidacy two years from now.
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That leaves Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (representing two close center-right parties) alone in a leadership position, despite credibility problems caused by destabilizing spying scandals and a fraying governing coalition with Social Democrats.
It, therefore, should not be surprising that there is no political decision on Greece's legitimate demand to renegotiate unreasonable austerity conditions imposed upon its deeply impoverished population. The French and German leaders seem paralyzed, even though they know that forcing Greece out of the monetary union would spell the end of the euro – with incalculable damages to the European and world economies.
They have been warned about that by the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in his now famous speech given in Louvain, Belgium on May 5, 2015. Juncker pointed out that Greece's exit from the euro area was "not an option," because that would be an existential threat to the monetary union. He also urged that "we should make sure that everyone understands that the economic and monetary union is irreversible, that the euro is a currency that is here to stay, which is not going to be abolished or suspended. "
Germany wants to save its golden goose
Who will make sure of that? The weakened French and German leaders?
That is apparently what they want to do. During the EU summit in Riga, Latvia, on May 22, 2015, Merkel and Hollande approved a joint document they sent the next day to Juncker with their proposals for a stronger monetary union. The proposed measures are tabled for discussion at the next euro area summit in late June.
The two leaders advocate action on economic policies, economic convergence, investments, fiscal and social issues and stronger euro area governance. Most of these proposals are supposed to be implemented within the existing treaty agreements, but, if necessary, treaty changes to sanction additional sovereignty transfers are not being ruled out.