One of the most amusing ironies to ever emerge from the burgeoning European superstate is that it may well be the Germans who consign this thousand-year reign of corporatist “peace” to the dustbin:
So after weeks of Euro-bluff it looks ever more like an IMF rescue for Greece after all, and hence for any other eurozone nation driven to ruin by the wrong monetary policy.
Well, you can’t blame them all for trying. But ultimately, governments are beholden to their electorates. I wonder if there might be some more significant cracks in the EU hiding behind all this panic, as well. If countries still fear their electorates, perhaps it means that countries can withdraw from the EU as well?
There will be no inevitable move to fiscal federalism; no EU treasury or economic government; no debt union. It is Stalingrad for the federalist camp and the institutions of the permanent EU government.
Yes, it’s never too late to stick it to the Germans one more time, eh? Still, moving on…
EU leaders may yet rustle up a rescue package that keeps the IMF at bay, but alliances are shifting fast. Even Italy has slipped into the pro-IMF camp, knowing that rescue costs can be shifted on to the US, Japan, Britain, Russia, China, and the Saudis, lessening the burden for Rome.
Indeed, with every economy in the world under strain, why would even other EU members rush to Greece’s aid when the same result can be achieved without damaging their own economies? That’s always going to be a tough sell.
Besides, too much has been said over the last week that cannot be unsaid. Mrs Merkel’s speech to the Bundestag was epochal, a defiant warning that henceforth Germany would pursue the German national interest in EU affairs, capped by her call for treaty changes to allow the expulsion of fiscal sinners from Euroland. Nothing seems so permanent about the euro any more.
Days later, Thilo Sarrazin from the Bundesbank blurted out that if Greece cannot pay its bills “it should do what every debtor has to do and file for insolvency. This would be a suitably frightening example for every other potentially unsound state,” he said, pointedly excluding France from the list of sound countries.
I believe the only response to that observation is: “Ouch. Saucer of milk for table six!”
As for myself, as much as I want to believe that this is the beginning of the end, ultimately I believe that the EU is too deeply embedded in the political psyche and provides far too rich a gravy train. Politicians will never let all that consolidated power and easy money get disbanded.
This is, sadly, merely a hiccup in the Great European Project.