Wolfgang Streeck

Monetary Disunion: The Domestic Politics of Euroland

With Lea Elsässer, Journal of European Public Policy, 2015

Abstract: Regional disparities within the European Union have always been perceived as an impediment to monetary integration. Discussions on a joint currency were linked to compensatory payments in the form of regional policy. Structural assistance increased sharply at the end of the 1980s. Later, however, it had to be shared with the new member states in the East. Moreover, the low-interest credit that Southern European Monetary Union members enjoyed as a result of interest rate convergence is no longer available. We predict that considerable amounts of financial aid will have to be provided in the future by rich to poor member countries, if only to prevent a further increase in economic disparities. We also expect ongoing distributional conflict between payer and recipient countries far beyond current rescue packages. We illustrate the dimension of the conflict by comparing income gaps and relative population size between the centre and periphery in Europe and in two nation-states with high regional disparities, Germany and Italy.

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(Previously published as Discussion Paper 14/17, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, October 2014 Download [PDF])