<html> <head><style type ="text/css">body { font-family: "Bloomberg Prop Unicode I", Verdana, sans-serif; font-size:125%; letter-spacing: -0.3pt; color: #FF9F0F; background-color: #000000; text-align: left; } p {line-height: 1.25em; max-width:900px; width:expression(document.body.clientWidth > 900? "900px": "auto" );} h1, h2, h3 { text-align: left; font-weight: normal; color: #FFFFFF; } h1 { font-size: 130%; } h2 { font-size: 115%; } h3 { font-size: 100%; } #bb-style { font-size: 90%; max-width:900px; width:expression(document.body.clientWidth > 900? "900px": "auto" ); } b, strong { font-weight: bold; } i, em { color: #FEC54A; } pre { font-family: "Andale Mono", "Monaco", "Lucida Console"; letter-spacing: -0.3pt; line-height: 1.25em; } table { border: 0; font-size: 90%; width: 100%; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; } td, tr { text-align: left; } td.numeric { text-align: right; } a:link { color:#53B2F5; text-decoration: none; } a:visited {color:#53B2F5} a:active {color:#53B2F5} a:hover {color:#53B2F5} </style> </head> <body> <p>By David Henry</p> <p>Europeans have finally found something they agree on: sovereignty. Almost no one wants to give it up.</p> <p>Majorities in eight European Union countries <a href="http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2012/05/Pew-Global-Attitudes-Project-European-Crisis-Report-FINAL-FOR-PRINT-May-29-2012.pdf">surveyed</a> by Pew Research Center recently opposed the loss of budgetary control to EU officials. Of the five euro-zone countries included in the study, only Italy favored increased supranational authority. In Greece, which is still flirting with bankruptcy even after forming a new government, a whopping 75 percent are against ceding control to a finance ministry in Brussels.</p> <p>The English-speaking world and much of southern Europe are waiting for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to blink on common bonds (translation: "I spend, you pay"), the use of bailout funds to finance banks directly and a lender-of-last-resort role for the European Central Bank. If only Germany would just roll over, the thinking goes, the world could go back to prosperity and the problem would be solved.</p> <p>The rationale is understandable. Germany is the EU's largest economy and has benefited from an export-friendly exchange rate over the past 10 years. A transfer union would also deal with geopolitical concerns: German power in Europe would be restricted by a permanent fiscal burden, while China would be prevented from fast-tracking its path to <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-23/emerging-economies-can-help-save-the-euro-if-the-world-will-let-them.html">more voting rights</a> at the International Monetary Fund by offering some of its $3.3 trillion in currency reserves to bail out Europe through the IMF. A weaker Germany is better than a stronger China.</p> <p>But it's not about Germany. It's not even about Greece. Sovereignty may be the endgame for the euro as nations balk at giving up control over their finances -- and their right to national political systems -- to faceless bureaucrats in Brussels. As German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble <a href="http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/finance-minister-schaeuble-euro-crisis-means-eu-structures-must-change-a-840640.html#ref=rss">said this week</a>, further integration may lead to the people deciding on the EU's fate through referendums -- something that every politician surely dreads.</p> <p>As a united Europe starts to look more and more like a fading dream, the most likely option appears to be a smaller club of members who trust each other enough to integrate, and a return to some national currencies. It would be very expensive, but the alternative doesn't have the support of the people.</p> <p>(David Henry is a Frankfurt-based editor for Bloomberg View.)</p> <p> </p> </body> </html>