Events & News


The political economy of the eurozone crisis: Big Europe versus Small Europe

Dr Razeen Sally, Visiting Associate Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

24 Aug 2012

Auditorium 302, NTU@one-north campus, Level 3, Executive Centre, 11 Slim Barracks Rise (off North Buona Vista Road), Singapore 138664

4 – 5.30 pm


The euro crisis prompts the EU’s policy elite to push for further centralisation of policies. But others prefer more policy decentralisation. The central set of policy choices the EU faces today – to centralise or decentralise policy – harks back to a debate in the 1950s between “small Europe” and “big Europe” advocates. The former favoured policy centralisation among a small group of countries. The latter favoured a free-trade area with institution-light intergovernmental cooperation among as large a group as possible. A messy compromise between these two competing visions played out over the next half-century.

The euro project, Dr Sally argued, is a product of Small Europe; and the euro crisis has put Small Europe thinking in the driving seat. In the speaker’s view, the existing and proposed measures to save the euro are deeply flawed, on political and economic grounds; there is a high risk that the euro will break up. There should be a Plan B, and it should have Big Europe, not Small Europe, in mind. What might it look like?

Dr Sally has also written an article on the topic for The Straits Times published on 27 August 2012 -‘Saving Europe in a Big Way’.​