Thank you, Greece. You have made plain, finally, the folly of having a common currency, the Euro, without a common economic policy to back it. And of course a common economic policy is impossible when economic decisions are being made by a dozen different governments, with conflicting social and economic priorities, representing countries with different levels of economic development. One government is worried about inflation, another with high unemployment, yet another with rising deficits. Each country is using the Euro, yet each country's government is independently implementing contrasting or even conflicting economic policies. This cannot work.
It reminds me of my neighbour, who built a tree house supported both by the living tree and by poles. While the poles remained fixed in the ground, the tree grew, slowly tearing the tree house apart. The same problem is presented by a common currency used by the large, highly developed economies of France, Germany or Italy, and the smaller, less developed economies of Central Europe, Spain and Portugal.
This crisis will be a turning point for Europe. The status quo has failed. Europe must either create a unified economic policy, implemented by the European Union, or discard the Euro (and any dream of a future European State) to return to the use of francs, deutsche marks and lire. The latter would be a disaster, both economically and politically, for Europe. There is really no choice but to move forward. The E.U. must create a European Department/Ministry of Finance to set a single, E.U.-wide economic policy.
If the E.U. controls economic policy, it will mean a loss of sovereignty for European nations. But this was always the inevitable result of adopting a common currency. The E.U. has acted, up until now, as a confederation of independent states. No one is a citizen of the E.U. or pays taxes directly to the E.U., although representatives to the European Union are now directly elected (a sign of a federal, rather than confederal system). Confederation, however, is no longer adequate, and the slow and halting evolution of the E.U. towards federation must be accelerated. Fence-sitting countries, such as the U.K., which have not adopted the Euro, must decided whether they want to be part of the federation, or not. In or out. Because in a federation, unlike a confederation, you are either citizens, or you are not.