Essay on Economic effects of the Maastricht Treaty

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The Maastricht Treaty is the most recent step towards uniting Europe into a political and economic European union (EU).  For decades, Europeans have been gradually moving towards a united Europe in order to increase economic efficiency.  While this appears to be a relatively easy idea on the surface, it is far more complex than one could expect.  Many countries stand to gain and others stand to lose if a monetary union (MU) takes place.  In addition to the many economic issues, any analysis of a monetary union is complicated greatly by the critical political and personal objectives of the politicians that are working to integrate Europe.<p>
Generally, on economic grounds, southern countries such as Italy, Spain, and
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 As a result, the southern countries will not be admitted into the MU without becoming subject to stringent economic criteria.  Also, the northern "allies" will not want to expose their domestic markets to competitively priced imports caused by the weak currencies of their southern neighbors, while helping to finance their activities with high transfer payments.<p>
In this paper, the problems behind the Maastricht Treaty and the unattainable requirements that it calls for will be discussed.  Next, the advantages and disadvantages of several southern European countries in joining a MU will be reviewed.  Explanations will then be given as to why it is unlikely that these nations will join the monetary union.  Finally, a solution will be proposed to give a criteria as to the right steps for these southern European nations to take for optimal performance.<p>
History:  Blueprint for the Future<p>
In order to understand how MU is expected to work, it is necessary to understand some of the basic terms of the Maastricht Treaty and how they affect specific European countries.  There are six areas of interest in the treaty.  To be included in the MU, each country must achieve certain economic and monetary goals.  First, each country must sustain a high degree of price stability.  Specifically, the average rate of inflation over a period of one year must not exceed, by more than 1.5%, the three

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