European integration has done more good than harm | Oliver Kamm

Last week, at the Engelsberg Seminar in Sweden, I debated European integration with Lord Lawson. The former Chancellor argued that the euro made no economic sense, because dissimilar economies need an adjustment mechanism. It was instead a political project. European politicians cannot resolve the crisis: they need to declare the euro a failure and dissolve it.

I replied that the EU is an attempt to supersede historic conflicts and the errors of inter-war economic policy. Its record in microeconomics and politics is good: an internal market binding 500 million people with €12 trillion of output has enabled efficiency gains. In Cyprus, Ireland and the former dictatorships of southern Europe, the prospect of EU membership has spurred liberalism. Europe’s crisis is due to neglect of budget-making institutions and structural reforms, but there would probably have been disruption without the euro.

Twitter: @OliverKamm

Read more: The Times has from the outset criticised the notion of a single European currency “on economic and democratic grounds”.


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