Europe's Experience with Economic Policy Integration
Senior Economist Martin Schulz
- The EU has turned away from its focus on administrative (de-)regulation and har-monization efforts, or institutionalized "market optimization," towards coopera-tion policies that focus on "policy optimization" by centralizing monetary policy and setting strict rules for fiscal policy. Unlike earlier (and current) attempts with more limited fixed exchange rate regimes, the EMU has proved to be a strong en-forcement mechanism for further market-based structural reforms without requir-ing further political integration.
- The currently disputed fiscal restrictions, on the other hand, have the potential to cause neo-functional spillovers towards more political integration, but the EU does not seem to be moving in this direction. On the contrary, based on the cur-rent progress in structural reforms, and the EU's general stance towards coopera-tive approaches with complicated schemes of checks and balances, the EU rather seems to be on the way towards an increasingly sophisticated economic union with more regional autonomy and accountability.