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Questo articolo è stato pubblicato il 01 agosto 2012 alle ore 05:58.
L'ultima modifica è del 01 agosto 2012 alle ore 04:05.


The euro crisis is also an institutional crisis within the EU. The tools the union assigned itself to manage the crisis do not seem to work. We are witnessing a breathless run after solutions that consistently fail to satisfy the markets.

The European Union has changed under the duress of the crisis, but not enough to solve it. The financial and institutional challenges are dramatically intertwined. We cannot win the former without finding a solution to the latter, as Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and French President François Hollande reiterated yesterday.

No doubt the European Union has changed. We can safely say that the union that came out of the Lisbon treaty no longer exists. The decisions that matter are now made exclusively by the euro area states, and those decisions are then formalized by the European Council or by the council of economic and financial ministers of the entire union.

The crisis of the euro led to the formation of two Europes, one with a common market and another with a common currency. So far these two Europes have been kept together by the different treaties that came after Maastricht (1992). However, the final approval of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the fiscal compact will give the differentiation a separate juridical base. The political implications of such a transformation are disruptive.

With the absence of Great Britain from the euro area the pro-sovereignty coalition was greatly weakened. Moreover, being a prisoner of its domestic policy, the British leadership tends more and more to exclude itself from European politics, leaving the member states with a pro-sovereignty tendency without an authoritative leader. In addition to that, Great Britain itself urges the euro area to integrate on a political level in order to better manage the common currency, while cutting out for itself a presence exclusively in the common market. The absence of Great Britain has already redefined the terms of the European political debate. The division is no longer between nationalists and euro enthusiasts but between different projects of integration.

This past May a group of foreign ministers, coordinated by Guido Westerwelle of Germany, went to work on this issue. It came as no surprise that within the group France turned out to be the coldest country vis-à-vis projects of integration that include a reduction of national sovereignty. If it is true that Hollande’s France positively contributed to reduce the impact of German financial orthodoxy, it is also true that the French idea of Europe continues to be mainly intragovernmental. Shall it continue to be as such, it will be difficult to find an institutional solution to the euro crisis in the short term. It is not enough to declare oneself in favor of solidarity and integration, as Hollande did recently, to create an efficient and legitimate governance of the common currency. The French leader needs to show much more courage in pointing out differences between himself and his predecessors.

There is a lot Italy can do to identify a meeting point between different visions and needs of the integration process. To solve the euro crisis, Italy has to push the common currency countries to toward greater their fiscal and banking integration. That will entail a substantial redefinition of their sovereignties. They will have to transfer, to a supranational level, tasks and services they thus far have jealously preserved on a national level. Naturally such a surrender of sovereignty will be compensated by their participation in the formation of new supranational institutions. And, anyway, the intervention of such institutions will be invasive only with the states that cannot govern themselves, not with ones that can.

At the same time, Italy should pair such a fiscal and banking integration with an original and realistic project of political governance for “euros Europe.” It should be a project that acknowledges the radical changes that occurred in the last three years in the decision-making structure of the union, such as the preeminence of the European Council and the effective role of the Parliament as its controller. The construction of a reform project based on these two institutions would allow Italy to reconnect the French vision (traditionally favorable to the council) and the German one (traditionally favorable to the European Parliament).

In conclusion, it is necessary to develop new ideas to solve the institutional crisis of the euro. It is a historic challenge for European political leaders and for the Italian government. A much more sophisticated challenge than The Economist, which continues to waver between a European “superstate” and a complete meltdown of the union, might think. Rather, the challenge involves the possibility of constitutionally differentiating the two Europes while preserving the unified Europe of the common market