The lies of the European Union
Greece has been bailed out, in the form of a partial default. But European leaders are again lying about what they are up to.
In all honesty, and putting aside our scepticism about the entire eurozone project, there was something conspicuously forlorn about Nicolas Sarkozy’s refusal to use the word “default” in relation to yesterday’s agreement on Greece for the eurozone’s first ever, well, default. Speaking to journalists, he said:
“If the rating agencies are using the word you just used (default), it is not part of my vocabulary. Greece will pay its debt."
No it won’t. That was the whole point of the deal. Greece can’t pay its debts, so ways have been found to ensure that it doesn’t have to.
And this is what it has come to. The president of a major European country is forced to tell bare faced lies in order, once again, to deceive the European public about what is being done in their name.
Nothing new there, of course. Anyone who followed the abominable farce in which European leaders tried to sell the Lisbon Treaty as being entirely distinct from a European Constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters, will by now be well used to the standards of conduct accepted as routine by the people who run Europe.
But actually, yesterday’s deal did produce something new. And it’s a big one:
“By the end of the summer, Angela Merkel and I will be making joint proposals on economic government in the eurozone. Our ambition is to seize the Greek crisis to make a quantum leap in eurozone government,” said Mr. Sarkozy.
Or put another way, European leaders are seizing the opportunity opened up by the Greek crisis to make another giant leap forward in the grand project of an “ever closer union”.
As is now customary, this will all be done without the consent of the governed. The plan envisages drastic curtailment of the sovereignty of eurozone states, especially the peripheral ones, in favour of a radical centralisation of power.
This, of course, is what opponents of the euro have always argued. It was dishonest to pretend that a currency zone could work without significant political union in order to bring fiscal and monetary policy into alignment.
A point would come at which the project was either scaled back in line with public wishes, or it was bulldozed towards its logical conclusion.
And so, we now stand on the brink of yet another huge transfer of power from the imperfect yet workable democratic framework of the nation state to an ever expanding bureaucracy accountable to no-one but itself.
Yesterday’s agreement on Greek debt may have provided short-term relief to the financial markets, but for European democracy it was another nail in the coffin.
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