EU enlargement has played a unique and historic role. But currently this process is not at the top of the European agenda, unlike the issue of creating the European Monetary Union, stated Niall Ferguson, historian and Harvard professor, in the debate on the future of Europe at the 9th Yalta Annual Meeting of YES.
"Wider Europe is one of the great successes of our time,” said the historian. “When the Soviet empire collapsed, the world could have suffered much worse, if it wasn’t for the expansion of the EU. This was a signal to the former socialist bloc countries as to what institutions had to be established to be able to participate in the successful European experiment. This led to a rapid transition to democracy and market economy in these countries.”
At the same time, Neil Ferguson expressed his doubt that today the EU expansion is the most pressing problem, given the economic crisis in the eurozone and the need for the monetary union. “If there will be no monetary union, the entire European experiment might fail,” he stressed.
Neil Ferguson does not believe in the disintegration of the eurozone in the nearest future. He agreed with the ECB President Mario Draghi that the costs of eurozone dismantle the will be higher than the cost of solving its current problems. However, according to the Harvard University professor, Europe needs to improve the quality of management and decision-making: in the confederation, what the EU currently is, an effective monetary union is impossible.
On the other hand, one cannot format the economies of all EU member-countries to the standard of one country. "We cannot make all do be German. We cannot impose austerity measures on other countries and hope to succeed by doing so,” said Ferguson. In his view, there is a huge difference between the quality of economic and public institutions across Europe. Therefore, solution for institutional problems becomes a priority.
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