Edoardo Campanella explains why the lack of a common language causes problems for the currency union, leading to a shortage of jobs in some areas and a surplus of jobs in others. Of course, the conclusion that Campanella comes to (that the EU must adopt a common language) isn’t the only possible solution — perhaps it would be better to simply end the project.
Labor mobility within a currency area represents a key adjustment mechanism to preserve the effectiveness of monetary policy against asymmetries in regional shocks: in theory, workers from the eurozone’s shrinking periphery should flow to the expanding core. In practice, the language barrier impairs this safety valve. Thus, southern Europe is losing its best talent, northern Europe is struggling to fill its job vacancies, and all of Europe is becoming poorer.
In such a Tower of Babel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s call for a political union to save the euro is wishful thinking, even for the staunchest European official. Linguistic barriers will obstruct continental political debate and impede the creation of a truly European identity. Citizens’ passion, rather than technocrats’ creativity, should inspire political unification. But Europe is still far from that point: after more than 60 years of economic integration, a truly European people, with its own identity and language, has yet to emerge.