H/T EUreferendum, as austerity measures bite in Spain, Asturian miners and their wives have been demonstrating in Madrid.
On the same day, Prime Minister Rajoy announced a 3-point increase in VAT, and called for further cuts in public expenditure.
From the Telegraph:
Hours before, daily newspaper El Pais had stunned the nation by publishing the leaked “Memorandum” imposed by the eurozone’s creditor bloc as the condition for Spain’s €100bn bank rescue.
The draconian terms include an EU takeover of the Spanish financial system, with calls for haircuts on €67bn of junior and hybrid bank debt, a bad bank to wind down crippled lenders, “on-site” raids by inspectors, and intrusive demands across the gamut of fiscal policy.
The 20-page list of diktats – ending with an ice-cold ultimatum – has shattered the illusion that Spain would escape lightly, avoiding the sort of EU-IMF Troika regime inflicted on Greece. “The EU is trying to do a ‘Greece’ without putting up the money that Greece got, because there isn’t any,” said Luis Arroyo, a former Bank of Spain economist…
“It is pointless pain,” said Nobel economist Paul Krugman. “The new austerity measures make no sense. This will clearly deepen Spain’s depression.”
Mr Krugman said the EU-imposed strategy of “internal devaluation” relies on pushing the jobless rate ever higher to break the back of labour resistance to pay cuts, a cruel and slow way to regain competitiveness.
A chorus of Spanish economists warned that the country cannot endure a further fiscal squeeze at a time when the banks are already crippled and unemployment is 24pc.
Professor Arcadi Oliveres from Barcelona University said the only way to break out of the vicious circle is to “leave the euro” – a minority view, but one emerging in academic circles.
And what’s all this suffering for? Why, it’s to keep the euro, and thus keep the European political ‘project’ on track.
From EUreferendum again, Karel de Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade, on the possible failure of the euro:
“Maybe you don’t, your population don’t completely understand this but this, the European monetary union, it’s not only about monetary affairs, economic affairs. It’s a political project, you know. It would mean the end of the European Union. It would be the end of the political project of our era. There’s no alternative to that so we’ll sort it out, whatever it takes.”
There’s no alternative? There are hundreds of alternatives. But the Eurocracy only has eyes for one: the creation of a European superstate.
What is the merit of this EU superstate? None really. It makes for a nice clean monochrome map of Europe. You could drive from Berlin to Barcelona and buy croissants along the way using the same currency. And the EU superstate would be similar in scale to the USA and China and India, and so it would be a major player in international politics. And this is all that really matters to these EU politicians: they want to be able to sit at the top table.
It’s really giantism for the sake of giantism. Bigger is better, and bigger still is even better still.
It is almost as if the European ‘project’ was to build a 10,000 storey skyscraper, that reached as far as outer space. What’s the difference? Because bigger is better. And the 10,000 storey skyscraper would be the envy of the world, even if the the top 3,000 floors were uninhabitable, and the whole of Europe was bankrupted in the process of building this vast white elephant. That’s the ‘project’, and there is no alternative to the project. Anything else is unthinkable. We must have our new Tower of Babel, or we will have nothing at all.
Practical politicians, realising it couldn’t be done, would adapt their plans to something that actually could be achieved. They’d cut their coat according to their cloth. But the Eurocrats are not practical politicians – if only because most of them haven’t been elected -, and they have their eyes fixed upon the Tower of Babel they’ve been dreaming about for 70 years.
The result is pre-ordained. The Tower will collapse. The ‘project’ will come to an abrupt end. Europe will disintegrate, and the dreamer-politicians and their political ‘project’ will all be swept away. They will be replaced by pragmatists rather than idealists – people who want to make institutions that actually work rather than institutions that are imposingly large.
Angela Merkel is one of the dreamer-politicians. In fact, as far as I can see, they all are.
I was looking at a photo of Angela Merkel the other day, when I suddenly realised who it was that she reminded me of.