Europe and its treaties are often criticized by the same people who signed the Brussels agreements and then had them ratified in their home countries. Making Europe the scapegoat of every imaginable evil is a self-defeating strategy that renders political movements and governments vulnerable to the charge that they are incapable of holding their own in Brussels, that they knew what had to be done but didn't do it. It would seem more reasonable, and therefore more effective, to challenge the entire framework of Europe rather than adopt the indecisive view of those who are "in favour of Europe, but not this Europe". The crisis of Europe is actually a crisis of national states that, in an increasingly integrated system, cannot cope effectively as individual actors and yet refrain from transferring power to supranational institutions. It is within this context that the author dismantles a set of "false truths" about Europe, neither forgiving its responsibilities nor those, substantially greater, of its member states.
Lorenzo Bini Smaghi was a member of the European Central Bank's executive committee from 2005 to 2011 and is currently a visiting scholar at Harvard University and the International Affairs Institute in Rome.