IT’S all getting a bit Cheryl and Ashley Cole in the Eurozone recently. To quote Cheryl’s no.1 hit, the EU seems to think that “if it’s worth having, it’s worth fighting for”.
Well, I beg to differ. If you’re in a situation that clearly doesn’t work, then get out and don’t look back.
Even after all the bailouts and support schemes, contagion is still the name of the game. Every time a country gets in trouble and the authorities take measures to try and deal with it, attention invariably turns to who will come unstuck next.
Frankly, I’m finding this tedious. The only point to these expensive patching-up exercises, in Europe and elsewhere, is to return confidence to markets and get the various parties spending, investing and lending again.
If the fundamentals or the system are so obviously rotten that no amount of patching up will do it, then surely it’s time to start again.
Bailout upon bailout, QE, short-selling bans, central bank intervention of various kinds... None of it changes the fact that there’s still tonnes of debt, little growth and an ongoing mismatch between economic, fiscal and political accountability in the Eurozone that leaves Europe impotent when it comes to the core issues.
Recently, a growing number of our viewers have emailed and tweeted to tell us they’re losing patience with repeated intervention. Many are calling upon governments on both sides of the Atlantic to unleash the power of the markets to reset the system once and for all.
The question is, are we prepared to take the consequences? Unbridled market forces, ripping off the plaster, purging the system and various other cliches sound very statesmanlike from the comfortable surroundings of your office sipping a latte.
But what about the unemployment, the home repossessions, the bankruptcies, the protests, the political unpopularity?
I think we need to remember why Europe opted for closer economic integration to start with. Surely the goal wasn’t monetary union in its own right.
It was supposed to bring great prosperity and stability for us all. That’s worth fighting for.
The debt crisis has shown faults in the system. Rather than blindly defending a flawed system we must go full steam in one direction – either full European integration or full national fiscal, monetary and political sovereignty.
And in the meantime I promise that I’m going to read less celebrity gossip magazines and more City A.M.
Beccy Meehan is an anchor at CNBC. Twitter @BeccyMeehan