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03 November 2019

Gyorgy Matolcsy: We need to admit the euro was a mistake

The Hungarian central bank governor has called for an exit mechanism from the European currency.

The time has come to seek a way out of the euro trap. There is a harmful dogma that the euro was the “normal” next step towards unifying western Europe. But the common European currency was not normal at all, because almost none of the preconditions were met.

Two decades after the euro’s launch, most of the necessary pillars of a successful global currency — a common state, a budget covering at least 15-20 per cent of the eurozone’s total gross domestic product, a eurozone finance minister and a ministry to go with the post — are still missing. [...]

The time has come to wake up from this harmful and fruitless dream. A good starting point would be to recognise that the single currency is a trap for practically all its members — for different reasons — not a gold mine. EU states, both in and outside the eurozone, should admit that the euro has been a strategic error. The aim of building a global western currency that vies with the dollar was a challenge to the US. The European vision of a United States of Europe has resulted in both open and hidden US warfare against the EU and the eurozone in the past two decades.

We need to work out how to free ourselves from this trap. Europeans must give up their risky fantasies of creating a power that rivals the US. Members of the eurozone should be allowed to leave the currency zone in the coming decades, and those remaining should build a more sustainable global currency. Let’s celebrate the 30th anniversary in 2022 of the Maastricht treaty that spawned the euro by rewriting the pact.

Full article on Financial Times (subscription required)

© Financial Times

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