In Frankfurt, the time is not at the party. To tell the truth, it is rather in low spirits. Friday the 1st of June, the european central Bank (ECB) celebrated its twentieth anniversary. Six months ago, the institution hoped that 2018 would mark the return of a robust economic recovery. That the drop in unemployment would give them finally the moral to the Europeans. That the cyclical upturn would begin quietly withdrawing its extraordinary measures, while Berlin and Paris will move forward together towards more integration in the euro zone.
But the thinning economic has not lasted. Since a few weeks, growth is showing signs of weakness. Berlin and Paris do not argue much. The trade dispute with Donald Trump is shaking Brussels. And Italy, on the verge of being governed by a hitch populist eurosceptic, again puts the eurozone facing its original sin. Namely, that it is not a monetary union complete. In a way, it is a bit like a chair missing a foot : in a precarious balance. Could falter at the first jolt. The next will be Rome.
When the ECB was born on June 1, 1998, this initial imbalance was a gamble. The one at the heart of the european construction, to the effect that the economic integration paves the way to political integration. The member countries would share the same currency, the euro, introduced in 1999. They forgeraient then the political institutions embodying their convergence. But nothing happened as expected. The capitals were not ready to cede a little more of their sovereignty to the community level. Especially : the crisis of 2008 struck.
Euphoria, crisis, and recovery
The existence of the ECB is divided into two distinct periods. 1998-2008, first of all : the euphoria of the early days. The institute of Frankfurt, built on the model of the German central bank…