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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

more Europe, not less Europe? « Previous | |Next »
November 20, 2011

The policy of Europe's leaders policy of doing just enough, just in time, is not working. Beijing will not bail Europe out, nor will the IMF. The euro is likely to need a fiscal fund, or something that functions very much like one. You cannot have a single currency without a treasury, or a fully empowered central bank behind it.

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Germany does say more Europe --German plans are for a revision of the Lisbon treaty to provide a legal basis for tough new fiscal rules for the eurozone. According to Angela Merkel this means that:

It is time for a breakthrough to a new Europe. The task of our generation is to complete economic and monetary union, and build political union in Europe, step-by-step … That does not mean less Europe, it means more Europe. If Europe is not doing well, Germany cannot do well, and Europe finds itself in perhaps its most difficult hour since world war two.

Germany should lead the way towards this "European domestic policy" with measures including automatic sanctions on eurozone members that cannot or will not keep their fiscal houses in order and a financial transactions tax at least in the euro area.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:02 AM | | Comments (7)
Comments

Comments

"Deutschland, Deutschland über alles..."

Merkel makes sense to me. It's easy to get preoccupied with day-to-day problems and lose sight of the grand narrative that the EU represents. It took the USA 200 years to become a reasonably united nation - some people would argue it's not there even now - including a disastrous civil war. And the Americans' task, working from a blank canvas, was a piece of cake compared to that confronting the Europeans.

Taking a broad perspective I think the progress towards European union since 1945 has been remarkable.

Much of the commentary on the current difficulties is driven by the pernicious ideology of nationalism, with pundits eager to seize on any evidence to oppose the whole concept of European union. However repulsive Euro-haters like Daniel Hannan have been around since the days of Harold Wilson and it is unlikely they can swing public opinion at this late stage, although of course they will keep trying. And needless to say many Americans much prefer to have a collection of weak client states in a divided Europe to a confident, powerful united new rival. Their pundits also rejoice at every European misfortune because they really want Europe to mean nothing more than NATO, a tool of US imperial policy.

One should not discount the huge challenges, but it seems to me the current events are typical of the problems that were inevitable in the EU project. If the will to succeed is there, they will be managed successfully (or at least successfully enough to allow the project to continue to make progress).

Ken L,
What is the point of an undemocratic Europe?

We have recently seen the collapse of democratic Govts. in Greece and Italy under pressure from Germany and France. An undemocratic supranational fiscal regime with the strings being pulled by Berlin strikes me as scarcely worth having - unless, of course, you are the string-puller.

The point Gordon? Surely that's a matter for the Europeans. But talking about influence from other places is equivalent to the Tasmanians complaining in the 1890s they were going to be undemocratically run by NSW and Victoria. Greece and Italy can pull out of the EU if they choose; it's not as if the Wehrmacht is poised to invade. But if they want in, then it means loss of sovereignty; just as the Southern US states discovered in 1861.

You can have a totally independent Greece and Italy or you can have a true European Union. It's a bit tricky to have both. It's none of my business which way the people involved choose to go; my comment was directed at the pundits who seize on every little development to proclaim the collapse of the United Europe dream.

Ken,
I basically agree with you re the movement of Europe to a federation of states. It is a remarkable and admirable project.

However, fear of the euro's collapse, the widespread perception that the EU is doomed to fail as a global power and recurring tensions over immigration and free movement have exposed the limits of European integration.

I would like to think that EU countries will be forced by the crisis to attempt some form of political and fiscal union to prevent a messy break-up of the eurozone and the disintegration of the EU. However, I realize that under current political circumstances, such moves do not look feasible. Voters in most core EU countries would not stand for it.

Its a bit like when you get shitty neighbours. You start off being nice and waving but eventually they wear you down and you stop waving and hope they leave soon.

Ken, your post was informative, but the "let them eat cake" bit, re Greece etc, was definitely not you at your best.
I'm inclined to go along with Gordon's take, here.
'Nuff said, for now..