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Monday, 14 November 2011


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Let's try a mental game.
We go over what the prime ministers of Greece and Italy have done during the last year, pretending that we do not know that their countries belonged to the EU. Would we surprised, given their policies and the situation they brought their countries to, that they are not in power anymore? Probably not, and we would not need the EU hierarchy to explain why (by the way, were they not in the EU they would have been intervened by the IMF for some time now).
Wich is not saying that it hasn't had anything to do, far from it. But, we see also that other countries, in fact all the members of the 'economic south', have also changed their politicians. Is Edna Kenny an apparachnik? Or Pedro Passos of Portugal? Here in Spain M. Zapatero is not even trying reelection, to give his party a (very small) chance of victory. The likely winner, M. Rajoy, is not exactly an european bureaucrat. One way or the other, all are leaving. I agree that the way in wich they do so is very important, but let's not forget the causes.
Of course, they are not only paying for their mistakes but for others' coming from long time ago. Probably the first one was the euro itself, but no one was complaining then. It was a political decision, not an economic one and it (the euro) gave irresponsible countries the chance to get into debt in a currency they shared with others: one currency, seventeen public debts. Do we need to say more?

How would I feel, you aske me? I do not need to use any imagination to answer that. It's been almost a year than M. Zapatero is not in charge anymore, but simply doing what he's been told. This has been his best (of seven) political years. And it is because of that that you talk of Greece and Italy and not so much of Spain. Only a couple of months ago, the Spanish Constitution was changed, with the votes of the two main parties, following an european 'sugestion' (shortly: now it is forbidden to throw the money away).
If we really want to go deeper into the matter, maybe we should start by defining what means sovereignty today. If sovereign is the one who has the power to change the Constitution, looking from Spain the answer is quite clear. You do not need to convince of that.
I unserstand (or at least I think I do) that what I am saying is quite brutal for a decent british man, as I know you are. Your country has had to fight terribly to keep its independence and you are deservedly proud of it. And, good for you, you are not in the euro. But in our case we must do the best we can in present circumstances (and I think even Roubini is been too far optimistic) or, as you may say in english, beggars can´t be choosers.

In case you are interested, historians will be able to put even a date to the moment M. Zapatero started to do what was needed. It was the day he received two phone calls. One from Brussels (or was it Berlin?). The other one, from Washington. We do not know yet wich one tipped the balance.

Ortega, it seems that in fact we do not have a disagreement. The Frankfurt Group ("Groupe de Francfort(GdF)) are now, in effect, running the financial and fiscal policies of euro-zone states. They do so without a single piece of democratic accountability, by which I mean, there is no way a citizen of those countries can be rid of them. If, as is almost certain in the future, some people take up arms against them, then the formation of a Euro Security Force will quickly follow. It's like a slow bad dream - or nightmare!

They'll only be retoring order, Duffers. Who could disapprove of that?
P.S. Get our troops home before they are dragged into this sort of stuff.

Well I think "coup d'etat" (against the state) is the more accurate phrase. States are being taken over. There is a every chance that it will have very serious consequences and the more blunt we are in our language, the better.

First, I must congratulate you. I've just heard through the BBC that you are not the worst place to live in the developed world...because we are! You came second after us.

Then, as I said, I think that the economic situation would be probably worse than Roubini explains, but we will see. About the political consequences, maybe it is not the worse way to think about it to remember that before WWII half Europe (read the Continent) was communist and the other half was fascist. Only with war and post war economic recovery and wealthfare state did we become democrats. I recommend you to read this, one of the most interesting economic books at the moment, to see how this happened. The prologue is free and a good resume of the book.

I do not know about riots. They will be probably against local (national) governments implementing austerity measures that, even with an ECB help, will be not enough to keep the living standards we are used to. I do not see the point of revolting against the core of the UE, since the exit option will not only be possible but, in some cases, probably mandatory. The choice will be between difffrent levels of poverty.Good time for populists.

Maybe you'll like also that:

It shows how bad frech banks are now. If you want to see Sarko imporing to Angela, probably you won't have to wait long.

Thank you for your attention and excuse me for using so much of your space. I hope not to have intruded too much. It is good to me to share those comments in such hard times.

Sorry, the second link was wrong. This is the right one.


Merkozy strongarmed Greece and Italy (and, apparently, Spain) but, you know, the "democrats" in the respective legislatures had the option to tell Merkozy to whistle. We don't know what would have happened but maybe our Latin partners could have grown a pair and saved themselves by their own exertions. Leaving the euro sharpish and foregoing a short-term cash injection from Berlin would, I suggest, have done more for Italian/Greek finances (let alone democracy) in the medium/long run than accepting a quisling viceroy appointed by Brussels.

Also a Machiavellian Greek/Italian PM could have dumped all the blame for the short-term financial grief on Brussels. I know it's easy to say but it really is better to die on your feet than live on your knees: and, anyway, Greece and Italy wouldn't have died. Admittedly they'd have been barely (financially) conscious for a couple of years but, in time, they would recover both their finances and their pride rather than spending the rest of the century on a life support system with Brussels' finger on the switch.

Thank you, gentlemen, for your comments. Sorry but I am going to post - again! - on this subject when I will take into account what you have said.

Ortega, you have absolutely no need to apologise for taking up space. Your commentary on this subject is particularly welcome because you are, so to speak, living in the middle of it and I am conscious that living on an Island the british view is sometimes distorted.

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