25 august 2012, eur in or eur out

In my frankfurt days, the financial times was the indispensable daily coverage on europe, but it was the economist I read for everything else, and which was the last (even now) to resist my falling into the internet, even if reading it all, once a job done by saturday lunchtime, may now take weeks. I remember when the charlemagne column started, and how I compared my own meagre effort to it, occasionally beating them to it. Over time, it has become considerably less brusselsphere and more anglo; a shame. I must admit though that a few weeks ago it struck a chord, reflecting how the euro, intended as the step to cross the no-going-back rubicon in bringing member states closer together, has actually ended up by more strongly differentiating them: "the euro has now set the convergence machine in reverse". It name checks a report (for tomasso, my old boss, see 25 october 2009) of an old colleague, now at hertie (which I went to) and bemoans the "one size fits none" interest rate and judges the euro a failure. This is harsh. As much as its first decade lauded as all-conquering triumph was an exaggeration, so its second as inevitable decline and collapse is similarly overblown. The euro will survive, and in due course thrive. The strategy is the right one, and well conceived, even if the tactics have been poor and inconsistent, to say the least. Europe has survived sclerosis before and will do so again, though that won't stop this being a fraught decade for all.