Bill Emmott predstavlja zelo smiseln novi “Marshallov plan”, kot bi ga Merklova morala pripraviti za Evropo. EU bo ostala skupaj samo, če bo rasla. Rasla pa bo samo, če bomo prezadolženim državam odpisali del dolga in njim in sebi pomagali z veliko dozo investicij. Tudi Nemčiji so leta 1953 odpisali 50% njenih dolgov, jo oprostili plačila vojne škode ter ji dali veliko kapitalsko injekcijo.
Evropa zdaj potrebuje takšen “Merklov plan” s tremi komponentami: (1) prestrukturiranje in delni odpis dolga perifernih držav, (2) skupen program investicij na evropski ravni (infrastruktura, energetika), (3) program nadaljnje liberalizacije notranjega trga, predvsem na področju storitev.
O konturah tega predloga bi se dalo še debatirati, toda v osnovi gre v pravo smer. Tudi sklep je pravi: če ne bomo poskusili, nam prihodnji Evropejci ne bodo nikoli oprostili.
A modern Marshall Plan should have three main components. First, sovereign debt in the eurozone would be restructured to ease the pain suffered by Greece and Spain. Second, a collectively financed public-investment program would focus on energy and other infrastructure. Third, a timetable for the completion of single-market liberalizing reforms – notably for service industries and the digital economy – would be established.
In Germany, debt restructuring would be the most controversial component. But Germans should be reminded that, along with Marshall Plan funds for Western Europe, the other big boost to Germany’s postwar economic recovery came from debt restructuring. The London Agreement of 1953 canceled 50% of Germany’s public debt and restructured the other half to give the country much longer to repay.
Though a write-off of eurozone debts would be politically difficult, it would be possible to refinance a large proportion with longer maturity Eurobonds, which all eurozone countries would underwrite. What is crucial is that such a remedy is extended to all eurozone members, rather than singling out one country (Greece).
By including the other components of public investment and single-market completion, the Merkel Plan (or, better, the Merkel-Hollande-Cameron Plan) would be able to restart economic growth while opening countries to more trade and greater competition. This addresses one of the principal British complaints about the EU: that it has so far failed to complete the single market, a project partly initiated by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
Of course, a modern Marshall Plan would face a wall of skepticism and obstruction by national interest groups. But, by standing together, European officials could win that battle. And if it is not tried, tomorrow’s Europeans may never forgive today’s leaders.
Bill Emmott, Project Syndicate