Leading Greek political commentator Nick Malkoutzis says Europe needs to develop a much clearer picture of what it is trying to achieve beyond improving its economic competiveness.
Speaking in an interview for the London School of Economics blog, Mr Malkoutzis said that the ongoing economic crisis in the EU is largely about hubris. “Europe thought it had made it when the euro was launched,” he said.
However, the feeling of accomplishment was hiding the large differences between member states, he added. “The idea that we had attained convergence was wrong, as was the idea that Europe had a divine right to prosperity.”
Europe needed a “clear and coherent” vision for the future, he added. “Ultimately, we need to discover who we are and where we want to go.”
Reform efforts must be balanced, he continued. “Destroying economies, and with that people’s trust and hope, through excessive levels of austerity is no way of rebuilding,” he said. “The Eurozone has to rediscover production and must innovate more.”
However, he said that the public in northern and southern Europe have “different but equally warped impressions” of the causes of the crisis due to how politicians and media have framed the debate.
“If we do not address [the public disconnect] quickly and decisively, then the whole edifice will fall apart and the debate about austerity, reforms, banking union and Eurobonds will become academic,” he added.