A situation in which – seen over some years – the money a country brings in from exports is roughly equal to the money it spends on imports. The criteria for entry into the European Monetary Union paid too little attention to a balanced trade account; and even before that, the Maastricht criteria (the four convergence criteria under Article 140 TFEU) lacked external balance. Some see this as the main reason why EMU has hardly strengthened its members in the long term. – However, the financial crisis that followed the subprime crisis must also be taken into account. Without EMU membership, some countries would have been far more severely affected. Within the system of the EU, the softening of the Stability and Growth Pact by agreement between Germany and France should also be remembered. This sent out negative signals for the actions of EMU members, and (luxury) consumption was subsequently expanded at the expense of investment. – See external debt, Friedman thesis.
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