Policy Briefs

C. Bastasin: The rationale behind the Italian-German rift

Acrimony among European states is getting harsher today than during the euro crisis a decade ago, jeopardizing the integrity of the EU and of the euro. Against the backdrop of tens of thousands of people who have died, the lack of a common initiative appears as a dramatic failure to many European citizens. Unsurprisingly, a strong anti-European sentiment is taking hold in many countries.

Claiming that this sentiment is wrong or ungrounded is a vain exertion, unless we shed light on the rationale of what is going on. In fact, the issue at the origin of the incomprehension revolves around one question: how long will the economic consequences of the health crisis last? If people are able to go back to work before this summer, the European toolbox will be suited to smooth over the recession that has already set in everywhere. On the contrary, if the European economies plunge into a deep recession and remain there for a longer period of time, much more powerful instruments will be needed.

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