Institutionelle Defizite und wachsende Spannungen in der Euro-Zone
The introduction of the Euro was certainly a success. Nevertheless, behind this success one may find some increasing asymmetries and imbalances across member countries, which may undermine the stability of the common currency in the long run. Tensions include the paralysis of fiscal policy, increasing divergence in per capita income, a high volatility of real state prices, and diverging unit labour cost developments. The given forms of macroeconomic coordination seem not to be appropriate to mitigate the problems. Obviously, countries can compete with wage policy only after currencies and their exchange rates were abolished, and the use of fiscal policy has been restricted. In particular, Germany and Austria were successful in competitive wage policy, while countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, and also France did not yet use the competitiveness channel. Germany was able to reduce its unit labour costs more than other countries by labour market reforms and higher indirect taxes in replacing social taxes. However, the advantage may proof to be temporary only, for other countries will be forced to follow the German example. Given an ECB inflation target of 2 %, more competitive wage policy in the Euro area might jeopardize the stability of the currency through deflation and higher unemployment. It does not wonder that the discussion on other and new forms of macroeconomic coordination revived recently. This debate does not only include the introduction of a central EU budget with anti-cyclical effects, but also forms of direct and indirect coordination of national wage policies. In any case, it would be useful to oblige national wage policies to obey the common interest of the Union.