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Seminar on the Euro Crisis

On 9th November, the European Parliament Office in Edinburgh and the European Movement in Scotland hosted a seminar at Edinburgh University which addressed the financial, economic and political implications of the Euro Crisis. The expert speakers sought to consider how and why the Eurozone has arrived at the situation in which it now finds itself, to assess what is at stake and, looking ahead, to consider what economic and political consequences might follow different possible courses of action that Eurozone leaders might take.

Dr. David Howarth, Jean Monnet Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh, argued for tighter fiscal governance and a reformed stability mechanism. Dr. Jacques Melitz, Professor for Economics at Herriot Watt University, questioned whether a stable financial sector necessarily requires a fiscal union of eurozone members. Both academics were joined by Jacques Cailloux, Chief European Economist at RBS, who added an investor's perspective to the discussion. One of the main concerns he addressed was the role the European Central Bank and foreign investors play in funding sovereign debt and ultimately in the economic recovery.

John Purvis CBE, Conservative MEP 1979-84 and 1999-2009 and former Vice Chairman of the European Parliament Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (2001-09), provided a historical view on the Stability and Growth Pact and highlighted the adverse effect that the human attitudes had on the emergence of the crisis. Addressing several points in British euroscepticism, he also pointed to the possibility that Britain might be "ousted" from the single market if the eurozone countries embark on the route to fiscal cooperation without British participation. One common point emphasised by the speakers was that the crisis cannot be resolved satisfactorily if progress towards a potential solution continues at the current speed.

A panel discussion followed during which members of the audience voiced their opinions and inquired into the speakers' opinions on possible solutions to the crisis. A high attendance at the event, whose popularity had eventually led to a venue change, indicated how salient the eurozone's future stability is for Scotland.

A full podcast of the event is available on the Jean Monet Centre of Excellence website.