More responses to the Greek crisis.
Greece’s brutal creditors have demolished the eurozone project
Stripped of ambitions for a political and economic union, the bloc changes into a utilitarian project
A few things that many of us took for granted, and that some of us believed in, ended in a single weekend. By forcing Alexis Tsipras into a humiliating defeat, Greece’s creditors have done a lot more than bring about regime change in Greece or endanger its relations with the eurozone. They have destroyed the eurozone as we know it and demolished the idea of a monetary union as a step towards a democratic political union.
In doing so they reverted to the nationalist European power struggles of the 19th and early 20th century. They demoted the eurozone into a toxic fixed exchange-rate system, with a shared single currency, run in the interests of Germany, held together by the threat of absolute destitution for those who challenge the prevailing order. The best thing that can be said of the weekend is the brutal honesty of those perpetrating this regime change.
Never before has the European Union made a decision that undermines so fundamentally the project of European Integration. Europe’s leaders, in treating Alexis Tsipras and our government the way they did, dealt a decisive blow against the European project…
The Euro Summit statement of yesterday morning signalled a complete annulment of national sovereignty, without putting in its place a supra-national, pan-European, sovereign body politic. Europeans, even those who give not a damn for Greece, ought to beware.
It started out in 1957 as the European Economic Community. I place emphasis on the word community, with all its resonances. Forty years later, it metamorphosed into the centralised European Union, and the ‘community’ began to atrophy. It’s very arguably now the ever-expanding European Empire, with an eastern front in Ukraine. Manuel Barroso even referred to it as an empire:
Any sense that this is a harmonious community of equals has now completely vanished. It’s become the naked tyranny of the stronger states over the weaker, which have become their debt slaves. Italy and Spain can expect to be treated no better than Greece.
In the video above, Barroso says:
We have the dimension of empires. But there is a great difference. The empires were usually made through force, with a centre that was imposing a diktat – a will – on the others. And now we have what some authors call the first non-imperial empire. We have by dimension 27 countries that freely decided to work together to pool their sovereignty – if you want to use that concept of sovereignty -, and work together to make value.
But sovereignty has not been ‘pooled’. The EU continues to be composed of nominally sovereign states, each first and foremost looking after their own interests (as sovereign states do). But some of these states are richer and more powerful than others, and can now impose their diktat – their will – on others, and they are now doing exactly that.
If sovereignty really had been ‘pooled’, Angela Merkel would have regarded the Greek people as her own people. And the Tsipras would have regarded Greece’s debts as being as binding as promises made to fellow Greeks. Neither have done so. For Merkel, Greece is a country as different and as distant as Nepal, and for Tsipras Greece’s debts are to other people than his own.
Instead of sovereignty being ‘pooled’, sovereignty is now being stripped away from the weaker states one by one, leaving a centre that imposes its diktat on all the others. First Greece,…
It should be the Greek people that are reeling by another, even greater stunner, just spoken by the Greek PM during his TV interview: an admission from the chosen Greek “leader” that Greece, as a sovereign nation, no longer exists:
GREEK PM TSIPRAS SAYS LENDERS GIVE A MESSAGE THAT IN COUNTRIES UNDER A BAILOUT THERE IS NO POINT IN HOLDING ELECTIONS
…and then all the rest, one by one.
Starting out as a “community”, the EU has now become a prison from which its member states must now wish to escape, and regret ever having joined.
In a further development today:
The International Monetary Fund has set off a political earthquake in Europe, warning that Greece may need a full moratorium on debt payments for 30 years and perhaps even long-term subsidies to claw its way out of depression.
“The dramatic deterioration in debt sustainability points to the need for debt relief on a scale that would need to go well beyond what has been under consideration to date,” said the IMF in a confidential report…
The findings are explosive. The document amounts to a warning that the IMF will not take part in any EMU-led rescue package for Greece unless Germany and the EMU creditor powers finally agree to sweeping debt relief.
This vastly complicates the rescue deal agreed by eurozone leaders in marathon talks over the weekend since Germany insists that the bail-out cannot go ahead unless the IMF is involved.