The original players behind the single currency claim astonishing sleights of hand have brought the euro to its knees.
But it wasn’t the behaviour of the eurozone’s southern members that first plunged the euro into crisis. There was, from the start, a way for the EU to police the economies of member states. It was called the Stability and Growth Pact, and it wasn’t Italy or Greece that torpedoed it; it was Germany.
In 2003, France and Germany had both overspent, and their budget deficits exceeded the 3 per cent limit to which they were bound. The Commission – then led by the former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi – had the power to fine them. But finance ministers voted not to enforce the rules, which were designed to protect the stability of the euro.
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