Briefing Paper

Briefing Paper 140 (2013)   

Towards a Deeper EMU:
An assessment of political divisions within the EU

Published 14.10.2013

Juha Jokela
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs

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The extraordinary political decisions taken to tackle the financial and economic crisis, and to reform and reinforce the EMU have opened up some old wounds and created new political dividing lines in the EU.

The EU has witnessed the re-emergence of the north-south divide as a key marker of distinct political and economic visions and imperatives within the EU. At the same time, the division between the east and west is diminishing.

The importance of the political dividing line between euro and non-euro EU members has also increased, yet it is not clearly defined. The uneven burden-sharing between euro and non-euro countries in providing financial means to tackle the crisis is, however, shaping the contours of EU politics.

Despite the British reluctance to join the current political processes propelling a deeper economic integration, no other profound preconditions for the EU’s future development have been established by the member states. Yet the depth of the reinforced EMU is currently under consideration in many member states.

The strengthening of the populist and Eurosceptic political movements has led to the resurrection of the anti-EU and pro-EU political dividing line in many member states. This is increasingly reflected at the EU level, and might constrain the EU’s future development.