We are accustomed to looking at Europe’s woes in a purely financial context. This is a mistake, because it misses the real reasons why the EU will fail and not survive the next financial crisis. We normally survive financial crises, thanks to the successful actions of central banks as lenders of last resort. However, the origins and construction of both the the euro and the EU itself could ensure the next financial crisis commences in the coming months, and will exceed the capabilities of the ECB to save the system.
It should be remembered that the European Union was originally a creation of US post-war foreign policy. The priority was to ensure there was a buffer against the march of Soviet communism, and to that end three elements of the policy towards Europe were established. First, there was the Marshall Plan, which from 1948 provided funds to help rebuild Europe’s infrastructure. This was followed by the establishment of NATO in 1949, which ensured American and British troops had permanent bases in Germany. And lastly, a CIA sponsored organisation, the American Committee on United Europe was established to covertly promote European political union.
It was therefore in no way a natural European development. But in the post-war years the concept of political union, initially the European Coal and Steel Community, became fact in the Treaty of Paris in 1951 with six founding members: France, West Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy. The ECSC evolved into the EU of today, with an additional twenty-one member states, not including the UK which has now decided to leave.