The cause of the current problem in Europe is the fact that the unification of Europe has come to a halt due to national interests and an enormous reluctance at the level of member states to finally transfer sovereignty in financial an economic policies to a central European authority. This was the jist of the third session of the Montesquieu Masterclass on Friday February 17, 2012. Since the trust, upon which many financial and economic arrangements were built, has been damaged it is extremely difficult, due to mistrust, to build a central European financial-economic authority.
This lack of trust is not limited to trust towards governments, but also towards the banking system. The solution is to regain trust in governments, which then have to enforce better and more transparent rules and regulations for the banking system.
Apart from that EU members states that are in financial need have to be supported by solidarity payments and by quittance by other member states and the banks. The next step would ideally be a move towards a fiscal union and central economic authority. The baking system should be brought under a stricter regime, which will enable the creation of a more transparent financial market.
During the discussion legitimacy of European policies was a hot item. Yes a central authority that is able to introduce policies which are efficient and adequate is fine, but these policies have to be legitimate. EU policies must be transparent and legitimate. At the moment there are several new institutions which have to deal with several aspect of the current crisis. The issue here is: how and by whom are they held accountable? And: what does the European electorate think of this?