Twenty years ago, leaders of the European Union put their signatures under a plan for one of the most ambitious steps in European integration.The single currency.
The Maastricht Treaty enable the creation of the euro, which, despite all the negatives, has clearly carved out its place in the international currency markets.
Former European Commissioner President Jacques Delors still sees the euro as a success story:
Ten years after the launch of the physical notes and coins, however, it’s clear that the Maastricht Treaty was not a complete success.
The strict rules for government budgets, as defined in the Stability Pact that was part of the Treaty, were agreed indeed. But they were not enforced because the German and French governments wanted to spend more that the rules would have allowed them.
Delors’ successor Romano Prodi even called the pact a ‘Stupidity Pact’.
The EU now is preparing for a new treaty that will enable tight fiscal cooperation and will give EU countries powers to supervise each other’s budgets.
But if they had chosen to stick to what they signed up to in Maastricht exactly 20 years ago today, then the crisis that Europe’s citizens are facing now might never have happened.