Whatever It Takes: How We Scrambled to Save the Euro

Martin Heipertz

The Maastricht Treaty on Economic and Monetary Union contains a no-bailout provision. Despite this, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Cyprus have received loans, guarantees, and transfers. The Maastricht Treaty also prohibits monetary financing of state deficits. Nevertheless, in summer 2012 the European Central Bank famously declared its willingness to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro, and the European System of Central Banks has subsequently embarked upon purchasing EU government bonds at unprecedented levels. Both decisions have been fundamental in stabilizing the euro area since 2010. They have also been massively controversial and subject to intense legal, public, political, and academic debate – and will continue to be so. This detailed, comprehensive, and systematic reconstruction of events and decisions aims to contribute to our improved understanding of what undoubtedly has been a critical juncture in the history of European integration. As a historical, narrative reconstruction, it intends to facilitate actor-centered institutional analysis in this field of ongoing research.

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