By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
I must admit I've never believed that a continent could act like a country. So the European Union's woes over Greece's financial crisis strikes me as neither odd nor unexpected. We in the United States can't even agree on various bailouts for parts of the federal government or certain U.S. industries. Can you imagine, for example, if Tennessee were asked to bail out California? The same furor would erupt as has gripped Europe, all of whose countries share a currency but none of whom are willing to accept the burden of making up for another's profligacy.
Yes, an EU makes traveling in Europe much easier for foreigners or even for Europeans. Changing currency back and forth is a hassle. And a united Europe is a greater economic power. But is it worth it in times of economic woes? Europeans will have to figure that out as they come up with a way to come out of this mess as one economic entity.
There's no talk of disbanding the EU, nor would it even be wise at this point as there are trade agreements, financial commitments (such as the EU's pledge to spend $5 billion helping to rebuilt Haiti), and contracts that would have to have to be reneged or rewritten. But I'll bet you a large pile of Euros that Europeans are giving second thoughts to whether this was a good idea in the first place.