John Peet

Political Editor at The Economist

Expert insights on Europe and 'Brexit'

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John Peet is a British journalist, author, and the Political Editor at The Economist since July 2015, with special responsibility for covering Britain and the European Union. Prior to this, he was Europe Editor from September 2003, responsible for coverage of the European Union, Russia, Turkey, the Caucasus and the Balkans. Earlier positions at The Economist, since joining in 1986, have included Britain correspondent, Washington, D.C. correspondent, Brussels correspondent and Executive Editor. Before starting his long standing career at The Economist, he was a civil servant, working for the British Treasury and Foreign Office.

He was educated at The Pilgrims' School, Charterhouse and St John's College, Cambridge, where he was awarded an academic scholarship. He graduated in 1975 with an MA degree in Economics.

John has written several Economist surveys and special reports on subjects including Management Consulting, Health Care, Financial Centres, the American South, Global Finance, E-commerce, Water, Spain, the European Union, European Monetary Union, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, the Future of Europe, Turkey, France and, in October 2015, Britain and Europe. He has also written pamphlets for the Centre for European Reform and has contributed to various books, including The Frontiers of Europe and The Foreign Policy of the European Union (both Brookings Institution). His first book, co-written with Anton La Guardia, entitled Unhappy Union: How the Euro Crisis — and Europe — Can Be Fixed, was published in May 2014 by Profile Books, and received widespread critical acclaim.


Unhappy Union

How the euro crisis – and Europe – can be fixed

John Peet and Anton La Guardia

The euro was supposed to create an unbreakable bond between the nations and people of Europe. But when the debt crisis struck, the flaws of the half-built currency brought the European Union close to breaking point after decades of post-war integration.

Deep fault-lines have opened up between European institutions and the nation-states — and often between the rulers and the ruled — raising profound questions about Europe's democratic deficit. Belief in European institutions and national governments alike is waning, while radicals on both the left and the right are gaining power and influence.

Europe's leaders have so far proved the doomsayers wrong and prevented the currency from breaking up. "If the euro fails, Europe fails," says Angela Merkel. Yet the euro, and the European project as a whole, is far from safe. If it is to survive and thrive, leaders will finally have to confront difficult decisions. How much national sovereignty are they willing to give up to create a more lasting and credible currency? How much of the debt burden and banking risk will they share? Is Britain prepared to walk away from the EU? And will other countries follow?

In Unhappy Union, The Economist's Europe editor and Brussels correspondent provide an astute analysis of the crisis. They describe America's behind-the-scenes lobbying to salvage the euro, economists' bitter debates over austerity, the unseen maneuvers of the European Central Bank and the tortuous negotiations over banking union. In the final chapter, they set out the stark choices confronting Europe's leaders and citizens.

Economist Books (1 May 2014)


“In the eruo zone, what is feasible is not desirable, and what is desirable increasingly looks infeasible. In this provocative, historically grounded account of the crisis John Peet and Anton La Guardia suggest a way out. Is it feasible? You be the judge.”
— Barry Eichengreen, Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

“The authors draw on their deep knowledge of the mechanics of European economics and monetary union, contemporary events, and historical antecedents to paint a vivid picture of the origins of evolution of the euro-zone crisis. Their conclusion underscores that Europe still has a long way to go in restoring credibility to the battered euro.”
— Fiona Hill, Director, Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings Institution

“An excellent, detailed and concise review... I agree wholheartedly with their recommendations.”
— Jim O'Neill, former Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management

“This book represents one of the best overviews of the euro’s current travails and future prospects. It reflects the virtues of The Economist, where both authors work: the analysis is well informed, concise, sober, and backed by pertinent data.”
Foreign Affairs

“There is plenty of technical matter in Unhappy Union to help anyone trying to grasp what exactly has gone on in Europe these past few years. But what also emerges is the strong impression of a continent still in deep trouble."
The Wall Street Journal


Towards a more united and effective Europe: the way forward

Britain Should Stay in the EU | Oxford Union

Keynote Speech