Germany’s former Finance Minister Oskar Lafontaine played a major role in the creation of the euro, but now after more than a decade since the currency went into circulation, he is calling for its destruction. Lafontaine has come to the realization that the single currency idea that he once pushed for is “leading to disaster” and must be broken up in order for the southern European countries to recover economically.
“The economic situation is worsening from month to month, and unemployment has reached a level that puts democratic structures ever more in doubt,” Lafontaine said in a notice on Germany’s Left Party website. Having a shared currency has prevented struggling eurozone countries from devaluing their own money as an effort to deal with the economic crises. He is also putting part of the blame on Germany, noting that “the Germans have not yet realized that southern Europe, including France, will be forced by their current misery to fight back against German hegemony sooner or later,” and the country is squeezing wages to grow their share of exports.
This is not the first time the idea of the euro has come under fire and it won’t be the last, but what makes this significant is Oskar Lafontaine’s role in creating the currency. The concept of a shared currency may have looked beneficial early on, but there are obvious shortcomings. Lafontaine believes that there needs to be some serious restructuring of the banking system in Europe, more rules on lenders, and ultimately a return to the monetary systems that existed in each country before the euro was put in place.