Do the single currency’s 17 members sincerely want to save the euro?
“Yes,” their governments all reply in unison, though, judging by the latest polls, many of their electorates are less than sure. According to Pew Research, 40pc of Italians want to return to the lira, while, in France and Spain, more people now think the euro has been bad than good.
That’s a huge turnaround from just two years ago. Support for the single currency is fast ebbing away. To the extent that it still exists at all, it seems wholly dependent on fear of what might happen if and when things fall apart.
Monetary union has become like an inoperable tumour; few now embrace it with any enthusiasm, but it seems impossible to remove for fear of the potentially fatal consequences.
Events are fast moving beyond the control of policymakers. As Spain’s elder statesman, Felipe Gonzalez, has said, “we’re in a situration of total emergency, the worst crisis we have ever lived through”. Policy makers are like rabbits in the headlights, apparently unequal to the scale of the banking crisis in their midst. If something else doesn’t derail the single currency first, it will soon fall to popular insurgency.