Europe's Choice

Episodes

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011989: Reshaping Europe20120129

Allan Little looks at key moments and issues which brought the EU to the current crisis. In this episode he focuses on 1989 and its consequences.

By the early 1980s the major players in the European project were already committed to some sort of monetary union. But the fall of the Berlin Wall, which happened much sooner than anticipated, propelled the project forward with a new urgency. France - and others - feared a resurgent Germany would pull the axis of Europe east. Germany too wanted to send a message that it continued to see its future anchored at the heart of the EU: it would give up its cherished deutschmark and embrace the euro. Civil servants and politicians describe the bargaining that took place to close the deal. Compromises were made that would come back to haunt the union as early as 1992 when the Exchange Rate Mechanism - which precipitated one the UK's most serious financial crises - showed the difficulties of maintaining a single currency across very different economies.

Producer: Jane Beresford.

Allan Little looks at the transformation of Europe following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

011989: Reshaping Europe20120131

Allan Little looks at key moments and issues which brought the EU to the current crisis. In this episode he focuses on 1989 and its consequences.

By the early 1980s the major players in the European project were already committed to some sort of monetary union. But the fall of the Berlin Wall, which happened much sooner than anticipated, propelled the project forward with a new urgency. France - and others - feared a resurgent Germany would pull the axis of Europe east. Germany too wanted to send a message that it continued to see its future anchored at the heart of the EU: it would give up its cherished deutschmark and embrace the euro. Civil servants and politicians describe the bargaining that took place to close the deal. Compromises were made that would come back to haunt the union as early as 1992 when the Exchange Rate Mechanism - which precipitated one the UK's most serious financial crises - showed the difficulties of maintaining a single currency across very different economies.

Producer: Jane Beresford.

Allan Little looks at the transformation of Europe following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

02Breaking The Pact20120205

Allan Little looks at the key moments and issues which brought the EU to the current crisis. In this episode he focuses on the first years of the last decade.

"The Stability and Growth Pact": the mechanism with the most boring name and yet the most crucial of purposes - to keep the Euro in check. Its low inflation, low debt criteria had been arrived upon as a means to trying to ensure a German-style fiscal probity amongst the 12 countries that had joined the Euro by 2001 - many more than many privately thought suitable for entry.

But there was no external enforcement mechanism for the rules - the Commission could recommend action but couldn't compel it. In effect, when countries contravened, it was up to ministers of member states to police the pact. When Germany - one of the European superpowers - broke the rules in 2003 under the strains of paying for re-unification, it was not penalised. Why? Did this send a fatal message to countries like Greece and Italy that they too could bend the rules without consequence?

Producer: Jane Beresford.

Allan looks at the failure to enforce the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact.

02Breaking The Pact20120207
03 LASTDeeper Not Wider20120212

Allan Little looks at key moments and issues which brought the EU to the current crisis, focusing on the events of the last 18 months.

The latest crisis has exposed new resentments and divisions within the EU. Countries like Greece and Italy have had both prime ministers and austerity measures imposed upon them by an executive in Brussels that voters did not directly elect. Other member states like Finland, who survived its own period of recession and austerity in 1991 without being bailed out by the EU, are seeing the rise of nationalist movements which are resisting the increased control in Brussels. There is a belief amongst some of them that this crisis was engineered as a means of deepening the grip of the European institutions. Opinion polls in Turkey show the lowest support for EU membership ever. Even Germany - one of Europe's greatest advocates and beneficiaries - is expanding its exports to non-traditional markets like China. What will the EU look like in 10 years time?

Producer: Jane Beresford.

Allan examines new resentments and divisions within the EU exposed by the crisis.

03 LASTDeeper Not Wider20120214

Allan Little looks at key moments and issues which brought the EU to the current crisis, focusing on the events of the last 18 months.

The latest crisis has exposed new resentments and divisions within the EU. Countries like Greece and Italy have had both prime ministers and austerity measures imposed upon them by an executive in Brussels that voters did not directly elect. Other member states like Finland, who survived its own period of recession and austerity in 1991 without being bailed out by the EU, are seeing the rise of nationalist movements which are resisting the increased control in Brussels. There is a belief amongst some of them that this crisis was engineered as a means of deepening the grip of the European institutions. Opinion polls in Turkey show the lowest support for EU membership ever. Even Germany - one of Europe's greatest advocates and beneficiaries - is expanding its exports to non-traditional markets like China. What will the EU look like in 10 years time?

Producer: Jane Beresford.

Allan examines new resentments and divisions within the EU exposed by the crisis.