Top economist Paul De Grauwe: Maastricht Treaty is a nice house without a roof
On 9 December 2016, it will be precisely 25 years ago that the EU Summit commenced which would lead to the much-discussed Maastricht Treaty. On this day, various top politicians and academics will be participating in a special EU Summit in Limburg’s Provincial Government Buildings. One of them is top economist Paul de Grauwe. Since the very beginning, he has had his doubts about monetary union without the support of political union.
Paul De Grauwe (born in Ukkel, Belgium, in 1946) is one of the most authoritative economists of our times. He has held the Paulson Chair in European Political Economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) since 2012. He is also professor emeritus at the University of Leuven. The energetic De Grauwe joined the LSE so that he could continue to work at the highest academic levels after reaching mandatory retirement age in Belgium.
De Grauwe – who has worked for the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, among others – edits numerous authoritative economic journals. He was also a member of the Group of Economic Policy Analysis advising José Manuel Barroso, former President of the European Commission.
De Grauwe has taught at numerous prestigious universities in Europe and the United States (for example in Michigan, Kiel, Tilburg and Amsterdam) and has been awarded various honorary doctorates (for example by Maastricht University, the University of Genoa and the University of Valencia). He regularly writes columns for the Financial Times.
The top economist, who divides his time between Leuven and London, is a well-known media figure in Belgian Flanders. He understands the art of explaining complex problems in simple terms. The Belgian media therefore often make use of his expertise when covering current economic affairs. De Grauwe has published hundreds of academic papers and authored dozens of books, both in Dutch and English.
As an academic and former liberal politician – between 1991 and 2003 he was a member of the Belgian Senate and an MP in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives for the Flemish Liberals and Democrats – De Grauwe regards himself as an optimist. A liberal and free-market advocate, he believes that market forces and economic growth will offer a solution to the issues related to natural resources, environment and climate.
Although he considers the Maastricht Treaty one of the most important events in the history of modern Europe, De Grauwe and other like-minded economists pointed out early on that monetary union with a single European Central Bank but without political union would eventually lead to problems. He described the Maastricht Treaty as a nice house without a roof.