Read this sentence from Wolfgang Schäuble:

Now, the tremendous political difficulty [of the EMU] lies therein that the painful efforts that result from it are immediately noticeable, but the fruits that will result from it can only be harvested later. 1

Now then, when did he say that? No, not when he was talking about Cyprus. No, not when the Troika was dealing with Greece. Not even while complaining about France’s, Italy’s or anyone else’s unsatisfactorily competitiveness and preaching about ‘no-pain-no-gain’-austerity.

Actually this sentence is from 1997, months before the EMU’s third phase started. The cited paper was to put pressure on then chancellor Helmut Kohl not to go weak on his knees and get the EURO going. I wonder when we will be able to bring the harvest in. They say there is little choice in a barrel of rotten apples.

  1. The original German text reads: “Die enorme politische Schwierigkeit [der EMU] besteht nun darin, daß die schmerzhaften Anstrengungen, die sich daraus ergeben, sofort spürbar sind, die Früchte aber, die sich daraus ergeben werden, erst später geerntet werden können.” Schäuble, Glos, Seiters, Lamers: “Die Europäische Währungsunion: Entscheidende Bewährungsprobe”, UiD 29/1997, p. 4.