In an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit in 2012, Lee Kuan Yew was asked his opinions of the European Union. The Die Zeit reporter asked: Is the European Union that we have today not a great achievement and an inspiration for other regions in the world, despite all its flaws?
In response, Lee Kuan Yew made this bold claim, he predicted that the European Union would probably fail. This is his reply in full.
“No, I do not view the European Union as an inspiration for the world. I view it as an enterprise that was conceived wrongly because it was expanded too fast and it will probably fail.”
In LKY’s One Man’s View of the World, Lee Kuan Yew shared that without real fiscal integration, the euro in its current form is doomed, and that without deeper integration into a sort of United States of Europe, “Europe will be reduced to the role of supporting actor”.
While it was clear to him that the best course for the EU was to integrate further, he also noted that it was going to be difficult at the same time, almost impossible even. Countries in Europe are too caught up in its past and history. The EU has also grown too large and disparate to be able to reach a consensus on the future.
Lee believed that the EU was likely to fail because of “too fast an enlargement” and that the euro in its “present form” cannot be saved because “you cannot have monetary integration without fiscal integration”. He also remarked that “the euro’s record will be seen by posterity as a dismal one, and any attempt to salvage political credit for the single currency project will come up against cold, hard reality”.”