EU survival: ‘No guarantee of success’
For Derk Yan Eppink the problem of the eurocrisis is not so much the euro itself, but in the gap of competitiveness between the north and the south.
“For the south of Europe the euro is too expensive, it pushes them into a recession, if in Greece, in a depression, Italy in a recession and Spain in a recessions and Portugal in a recession – that is 40 per cent of the eurozone in trouble. And the question is whether the currency will survive that,” he says.
And while some do not agree with the austerity measures required to save their economies, the others are whining because of high bailouts for the sinking neighbors, which are basically taken from their taxes.
“The public opinion in both the south and the north are going different directions,” he said.
And Derk Yan Eppink is not terribly optimistic, saying that nobody in Europe “actually knows what to do.”
He says that EU finance elite has “to take tough decisions” and not go from “summit to summit” making decisions “just to find out a few weeks later that the problem is still there.”
“There is no guarantee for success. If this crisis is lingering on, it is going to affect the entire eurozone – not only Italy and Spain, but also France,” Eppink says.
The problem of the European Union according to Eppink is that the economies in southern Europe “are not competitive.”
And to solve the problem, such countries as Greece and Spain or Italy should “improve and increase their competitiveness.”
But this is the stumbling block in the whole scenario. The thing which is easier said than done.
“[Southern European countries] have to bring a sort of the domestic devaluation be reducing salaries, by cutting the public sector, by making the labor making more flexible. And this is very hard to do because people immediately feel the pain and they start protesting against it, not only against measures, but against the project of the European Union,” Eppink says.
What he warns against is the full harmonization of different parts of Europe. Referring to the Soviet Union as a sad example, Eppink says that this will not be successful.
“If you want to harmonize everything to much in natural way that will collapse,” he concludes.
Thus to avoid this kind of scenario, he is calling to the EU leaders to take into account that “peoples in Europe are different with different cultures and different languages.”