In the spring of 2008 the European Union (EU) celebrated the tenth anniversary of economic and monetary union (EMU). Events in Brussels and Frankfurt marked the successful first decade of the currency. The Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner boasted that “the Economic and Monetary Union and the euro are a major success” (Commission 2008, p.iii), while European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet lauded “the vision and determination of the Governing Council members, past and present… who have helped to build a solid foundation for the euro” (ECB 2008, p.6). This congratulatory air quickly dissipated a few months later when the worst economic crisis for the European Union countries since the Great Depression began. The crisis originated with the American subprime crisis, but quickly exposed the inherent weaknesses in the EU’s financial system. Despite the gravity of the global financial crisis, the EU’s initial policy responses were quite timid and incremental. The ensuing sovereign debt crisis forced the euro area into tighter integration while hardening the reluctance of certain non-euro area countries to press ahead with delegating greater powers to Brussels.
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