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This is your new book, "The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe?" When we just talked about Brexit, for the first second. Yesterday, the leaders were in Italy. They are gonna have a summit to talk about how to get rid of the U.K., or how the U.K. should leave. Are you at all…are you optimistic or pessimistic about how the Brexit scenario plays out?

I think in the end I’m slightly optimistic. It’s a balance. When the Brexit first occurred, Juncker responded, he’s the head of the European Commission by saying very forcefully that they are going to punish the U.K. And it was a really sort of -- I thought -- an ugly moment, whey say, the only way we can keep the eurozone together is not by providing them growth and shared benefits, but by threatening them if they leave, things are going to be even worse.

So do you now perceive the euro as being if not exactly a wonderful example of a single currency, at least a stable currency?

No, I don’t view the euro as a stable currency in the following sense. There is a real risk of an exit. We had a risk of Grexit last year.

Who is going to go? Because…which countries do you perceive as being at risk, besides the U.K., obviously which is out?

It was never in part of the eurozone. It was in the EU but not the eurozone. And you were mentioning a little bit earlier how it adjusted, the way it adjusted. You mentioned…emphasized the exchange rate fell, and that gave a boost to its experts. You put the, you know, the hammer really on the head of the nail by pointing out that it’s the exchange rate adjustment that is a very forceful way of countries adjusting to shocks, like the shock of the referendum. I think the real issue here is politics more than economics. Right now there’s lot of discussions. What will happen in Italy if the referendum fails, and…

This is the constitutional referendum that Matteo Renzi is trying simplify procedures in the various parliaments.

That’s right. And around that referendum everybody has gathered against Renzi. If it fails, Renzi government falls. There’s talk of the Five Star Movement getting power. They are committed to having a referendum. And if there’s another referendum, who knows the direction in which it goes? Europe has lost most of the referendum they’ve had.

Do you…I mean, besides Brexit, and I, you know, like yourself have looked at this, not in as much detail, but Europe always manages to pull it back on the final hurdle. You know, Alexandre Steppe talks about a drama leading to a crisis, leading to a sub-optimal solution.

Voters are not quite fine-tuned in the way that the European leaders are used to pushing things to the precipice and then pulling back. You know, they’ve done it over and over again. They’ve said they were going to fine Greece, Portugal and Spain for their deficits. Everybody thought, you know, how could you do this? Last minute, they said, oh no, we are not going to do it. So you see that over and over again. But voters don’t turn on a dime like that. If there’s the kind of referendum, whether it’s in Italy or whether it’s in Portugal or some other country, they are not gonna turn around like that.

Staying with the euro for a second, we’ve got the ECB with its negative interest rates and it’s pretty much quantitative -- it’s not a limited quantity, but it is in the sense that they’ll keep going until they get the results. We are seeing that QE doesn’t really work in anything like the measure. Even the Bank of England is discovering that as it does it post-Brexit.

And some of the countries have actually found that it has negative effects because the negative interest rates hurt the banks. The banks contract lending, and that actually hurts the economy. So this experiment with negative interest rates, it hasn’t been done as carefully in some countries as it should have been, but it is not going to get Europe back to anywhere near health. That’s why what you need is the end to austerity. You have to go back to a growth policy, that…the eurozone is having very difficult, you know,-- it’s sort of in the regulations of the eurozone. It’s in the, you might say, the Constitution of the eurozone. They don’t have quite a constitution, but it’s like that. And the result of that is, it’s the structure of the eurozone itself which is holding it back, and...

That’s going to change.

That's what worries me. As that happens, and as that stagnation that's been going on for years continues, the likelihood that the voters get fed up in one country or another is going to increase.
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