IS EUROPE HAVING AN AMERICAN HISTORICAL MOMENT?

European leaders, concerned about the growing fiscal crisis on that continent are examining the structure of the European Union, specifically the constitutional provision requiring decisions on many issues of importance to be determined by a unanimous vote of the member nations. That repeats the mistake of America’s first governing document, the Articles of Confederation, that was eventually abandoned for the Constitution. According to a story in the New York Times, when a European central bank official recently met with a financial official in Washington, “his host brandished the Articles of Confederation, the 1781 precursor to the United States Constitution, to use as an example of why stronger unions become necessary. The story of America’s failed early effort to operate as a loose confederation of 13 states is looking increasingly relevant for many European officials. The lack of strong central coordination of the euro zone’s debt and spending policies is a crucial reason Europe has been unable to resolve its financial crisis despite more than 18 months of effort.”

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