Nonetheless, the “shocking” decision by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy at the G8’s Deauville Summit in October 2010 (after a casual walk along the beach) to impose “PSI” – Private Sector Involvement – has irrevocably changed the nature of European politics. These innocent-sounding initials made financial markets fully aware that they now faced default risk in euro area government bonds – triggering financial flows that unravelled much of 60 years of patient single market construction in just a single year.
Saving Europe is organised into chapters on the key events and topics of the period, but sometimes there can be a disconcerting discussion of other topics that were running in parallel at the time. For example, the Merkel Government has been steadily boxed in by the series of ‘European’ judgements from the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. The fascinating discussion about these judgements suddenly turned into a narrative of post-WWII German attitudes to Europe – absorbing, but frustrating to the would-be student of constitutional law.
The riveting quality of this book flows directly from Bastasin’s access as a prominent Italian journalist turned think tanker to the inner stories of human interactions at the highest levels, combined with his ability to weave the policies that resulted into the flow of history.
Will EU heads of government take Bastasin’s advice to keep up a national bi-partisan approach and conduct politics at the European level to “solve the crisis with solidarity hand-in-hand with mutual responsibility”? Let’s hope they will have learnt about the mistakes of their immediate predecessors’ from Saving Europe.