Jean Pisani-Ferry decided to write this book in the wake of a seminar in Freiburg, where he had been asked to expound his views on the sovereign debt crisis that is on everyone’s lips since it unleashed its full force on the Old Continent. In a nutshell, what he was really being asked was: “Was ist die wirkliche Frage?” (What is the real question?).
The author realises that the issue goes way beyond a mere explanation of the technical solutions that have been or are about to be adopted. He writes: “Behind the figures, the procedures and the mechanisms, there are the principles that are being increasingly called in to question: coexistence, solidarity and democracy”. Thus the question presupposes a broader definition of the issues and challenges connected with the crisis. The peripheral crisis has turned into an existential crisis. Pisani-Ferry argues that: “The democratic debate on the responses to the crisis is a political necessity, and it has become crucial also from an economic and financial point of view”.
The author maps out the path that led to the adoption of the euro, he describes events over the past two years, and he explores the potential avenues for emerging from the crisis.
This review aims to summarise the main ideas that the author expresses and the underlying theme holding the book together.