Maastricht with hindsight

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Maastricht with hindsight

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European figures have been commemorating the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, which led to the creation of the euro, in spite of many questions stemming from it with a bearing on the current debt crisis and the situation in Greece.

A former advisor to the German government attending the event in Brussels suggested there had been unfortunate oversights.

Joachim Bitterlich said: “We need to do something about sovereign debt. For years we underestimated debt’s role in the crisis. More jobs and growth are necessary for the eurozone economy and we need to consider this.”

The main criteria of European Monetary Union governed inflation rates, annual allowable government deficits, debts, exchange rates and long-term interest rates. This was to keep prices stable in the eurozone even as it grew. But today’s realities have raised doubts about the criteria.

Bitterlich said: “The weakness of Maastricht is due to the well-known debate between France and Germany about economic governance.”

France eventually called for a “clearly identified economic government” for the eurozone, but Germany opposed the proposals.