A missing word in the Wolfgang Schäuble’s dictionary

Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, is very severe in his article on The Financial Times about the Greek crisis and its lesson for the monetary union. He advocated “strict conditions and a prohibitive price tag” for aids to countries in trouble, meanwhile “excluding the country concerned from the decision-making process”. In addition, in order to protect ”. He called “””the credibility of the European Monetary Union, he proposed to suspend “an uncooperative member’s state voting rights in the Eurogroup” and even to force a country “unable to consolidate its budgets or restore its competitiveness” to “exit the monetary union while being able to remain a member of the Eu”.

This severity has many, and wise, purposes: to consolidate public budgets, to attain financial stability, to get a strong euro; but in his article Schäuble did not say a very important word: growth. He mentioned only competitiveness, a meaningless concept when speaking of a country. So he did not propose a common policy to spur economic activity. This is unsound: European Monetary Union needs primarily a strong economic growth, and therefore a radical restructuring of markets and an environment favourable to innovation.

Too bad: according to many scholars, an export-led growth strategy, like that adopted by Germany, is very similar to a ‘beggar-thy-neighbor’ policy. The European Monetary Union deserves a better leadership.