Friday, February 17, 2012

There was a place called Europe...

The Eurozone problems are getting uglier by the day.  While German politicians have consistently missed – to use Sarkozy’s phrase – multiple opportunities to shut up, Greece is actively engaged in reminding everyone of German bullying tendencies by bringing up events that took place some 80 years ago.  The latest comment from German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble might not have been taken quite so badly in Greece if it originated from a country with a less  unfortunate (for the rest of Europe) aggressive history.  Even Italy, which has implemented the same system Mr. Schäuble has suggested, would have been a better source. At least the Greeks could ignore an idea from Rome.
The suggestion to postpone elections and install a technocrat government is a distinction without a difference from the previous floating balloon out of Berlin that Greece give up its rights to manage its economy to someone in Brussels.  The fact that Brussels was complicit in allowing Greece to play fast and loose with  its economy so long as times were good doesn't bode well for the idea - but that's another story.  
However, the venomous recent exchanges show that there is no “Europe” in Europe.  Citizens in Germany, France, Italy and the other 24 EU members simply do not think of themselves as European first.  Which is why Greece will eventually default and leave the Eurozone – paving the way for the slow motion economic and political unraveling of the EU unless a new approach is taken very, very soon.  In addition, the concept of installing unelected technocrats to run, at a minimum, the economic policies of a nation has been tried before and didn’t go too well by the time it ended in 1991. 

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