- EU Political Union: Be careful what you wish for. EuroIntelligence.com
- The Return of the Ugly German. Joschka Fischer, German Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor 1998-2005
- Moving on from the Euro. Kevin H O’Rourke, Professor of Economic History, All Souls College, University of Oxford; Programme Director at Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).
- Blitzkrieg? Finian Cunningham
- Greece should prepare for Grexit – and then not do it. Economist Charles Wyplosz
- Greece and the European Union: First as Tragedy, Secondly as Farce, Thirdly as Vassal State. Prof. James Petras
At a time when the Government is advancing the ridiculous proposition that the Irish State is “regaining its economic sovereignty” by leaving the Eurozone bailout, sensible people will be more concerned at the possibility of a Cypriot-style “bail-in” for the Irish banks, entailing confiscation of customer deposits over €100,000, as the euro-currency crisis continues and the planned EU “banking union” makes provision for such steps.
The continuing Eurozone crisis was discussed at the EPAM conference in Athens, Greece, last weekend week.
At this event representatives of organisations from different EU countries agreed on the vital need for the Eurozone States to re-establish their national currencies and work towards the dissolution of the Eurozone, which is destroying the democracy of the peoples and States that use the euro and wreaking economic destruction and social misery on country after country.
Below for your information is a copy of the joint press statement that was issued after this conference on behalf of the participant organisations.
It was signed by Anthony Coughlan on behalf of the above organisation.
- Hollande calls for euro government to beat recession – EUobserver.com
COMMENT: Clearly the “logic” of the Eurozone is to move towards further economic integration in order to “save the euro”, even though most ordinary citizens across the Eurozone do not want this, for of course one cannot have a European or Eurozone democracy without a European “demos” , and the latter does not exist and cannot be created artificially.
If further Eurozone integration moves happen however, the UK is likely to get ever more disengaged from the EU, and it certainly will not join the Eurozone.
If we go along with further Eurozone integation moves, as most of our politicians will be inclined to do, it will surely mean that the political/economic division between North and South of Ireland will get deeper.
That would surely be an ironical way of commemorating the centenary of the Easter Rising in 1916, and the aspiration of the 1916 Proclamation for the establishment of an independent democratic State in “unfettered control of Irish destinies”.
And what will be left of our low-level Corporation Tax Rate in the more integrated Eurozone which M. Hollande envisages?
- National parliaments eclipsed by EU powers – EUobserver.com
- France’s triumphant ‘Joan of Arc’ vows to bring back franc and destroy euro – Telegraph
- Kohl confesses to euro’s undemocratic beginnings – EUobserver.com
From The Irish Times (World News on page 9), Monday 8 April 2013
KOHL CLAIMS HE STAYED ON AS CHANCELLOR TO ENSURE GERMANY JOINED EURO ZONE
Helmut Kohl has said he stayed on as chancellor until his political defeat in 1998 because he doubted anyone else had the political authority to guarantee Germany’s entry to the European single currency.
In an interview, Dr Kohl said he sensed considerable resistance in his Chrstian Democratic Union (CDU) both to the euro and to bis anointed successor, Wolfgang Schauble.
Rather than risk his political legacy by standing down and handing over responsibility to Dr Schauble, Dr Kohl stayed on despite falling popularity ratings to push through the euro “like a dictator”.
“Dr Schauble is a very talented man, that is beyond discussion, but this . . . was something someone with full authority had to tackle,” said Dr Kohl in an interview conducted in 2002 for a doctoral thesis and just published by its author, journalist Jens Peter Paul. The former chancellor said he did not dare hold a referendumon the single currency in Germany because “of course I would have lost”.
“We had lots of people in the CDU who spoke out” [against the euro] he said. “No one said ‘I reject this’ but. . .[they would say] ‘we will do this but we will postpone things again for a few years’.”
Dr Kohl added that he linked his “political existence to the project”, and that he wanted the introduction of the euro because “it was a question of the continuity, the irreversibility, of the European project”.
DOUBTS ABOUT SCHAUBLE
Adding to the uncertainty on the euro, he said, were doubts about Dr Schauble’s political authority because of his physical disability – the result of an assassination attempt in 1990.
“What most [CDU] people thought – though they never said in my presence – was that someone in a wee wheelchair couldn’t be chancellor,” said Dr Kohl. “I was always passionately of the opposite view, citing the example of Franklin D.Roosevelt, who won the second World War, but I was never in a majority with this view.”
Much of the resistance in Germany, Dr Kohl said, was to the idea of a currency union without the foundation of a fiscal and economic union. He admitted the euro’s introduction probably cost him the 1998 election. But on reflection he said it was worth it to secure the euro and end centuries of tensions in Europe that led to war.
“I am a power person. A chancellor has to be if he’s to get something through and, if he is smart, he knows that now is the time to push something through,” he said. “In one case I was like a dictator, and that was with the euro.”
I suppose that you would count me as one of “the usual suspects” whom you refer to in your Irish Times article of last Saturday (23 March): ”Cypriot crisis puts Irish experience into perspective”, as wishing “to make political capital out of the initial botched attempt to impose some losses on Cypriot depositors”.
While you make valid points in your article, its concluding thrust – that “the EU and its institutions have made Europe a far better place than at any time in its history” – sidesteps the question of whether adopting the Euro-currency and becoming a member of the Eurozone, which is currently a legal obligation on all EU members except the UK and Denmark, have really made Europe “a far better place”.
Do you really believe that Europe is a better place today than it was, say, twenty-five years ago?
As the Cypriots, Greeks, Portuguese, Spaniards, Italians – and we Irish – are discovering the hard way these days, the EU/EC of, say, 1988, before the euro-currency project was embarked on, was by any objective standard surely a better place than the EU of today, when tensions and even hatred are growing between creditor and debtor States INSIDE the Eurozone and when the peoples of the ten EU States which have decided to stay OUTSIDE the Eurozone and to retain their national currencies are thanking their lucky stars they did not join that crisis-racked entity.
This point is made strongly by Bernard Connolly in the introduction he has written to the recent new edition of his classic book, “The Rotten Heart of Europe:The dirty war for Europe’s money”, which I am putting a copy in the post for you today in case you have not read it.
Connolly knows what he is talking about when it comes to monetary matters and his book sets out clearly how the Euro-currency was envisaged by its progenitors from the start as a device for pushing the peoples of the EU towards a supranational fiscal and political union, a quasi-Federation which would be under Franco-German political hegemony and in which the Brussels-Frankfurt bureaucracy would have vast executive powers.
This development was meant to erode – as it has eroded – the democracy of the Eurozone’s Nation States without replacing this with any meaningful democracy at the supranational level.
The latter is indeed in principle impossible, for there is no EU/Eurozone “demos” or people who are willing to identify with and give allegiance to such a supranational entity as truly “theirs”, and such an EU/Eurozone “demos” cannot be artificially created.
In other words, contrary to what your article of last Saturday implies, there is a qualitative difference between the pre-Eurozone and post-Eurozone EU, just as there is inside the EU between the 17 countries which have adopted the Euro and the 10 EU Member States which decided to retain their own national currencies.
As former Commission President Romano Prodi exulted some years back: “The two pillars of the Nation State are the sword and the currency, and we have changed that.”
Maybe you would consider sometime addressing these differences between the countries INSIDE the Eurozone, which Ireland’s leading politicians were foolish and irresponsible enough to join in 1999 even though we do over two-thirds of our foreign trade outside it, and the ten countries OUTSIDE the Eurozone which are still members of the EU.
On a related point: as Germany uses the crisis of the Euro-currency in an ever more obvious attempt to impose its political-economic will on the 16 other Eurozone Member States, it may be worth reminding Irish Times readers that from next year, 2014, Germany’s relative voting weight under the new population-based EU-law-making system enshrined in the Treaty of Lisbon will increase from its present 8% of the total number of EU Council votes to 16%, the voting weights of France, Italy and Britain will increase from their present 8% each to 12% each, while Ireland’s relative voting weight in making EU laws will decline from its present 2% to less than 1%.
You will agree, I am sure, that this step, which most Irish people and indeed most Europeans are currently quite unaware of, is unlikely to make the rest of the Eurozone/EU look more kindly on Germany.
With best regards
PS. I am copying this letter to some of your fellow commentators in the Irish Times and other papers for their information, as doubtless they will have read your Saturday article also. The crucial distinction between the crisis in the Eurozone and the situation in the rest of the EU is too often not made by those who wish to divert attention from the historical catastrophe which the single currency is manifestly turning into.
- EU to set up euro-election ‘troll patrol’ to tackle Eurosceptic surge
- Why Germany Wants its Gold Back
- Eurozone banking union is deeply flawed – Financial Times
- EUROGENDFOR – policing sans frontières? – Quarterly Review
- Top European economists propose “jointly agreed euro exit” of Northern countries – Open Europe
- Why the Euro Crisis Isn’t Over; The economist who dared to predict Europe’s mess, and was fired for it, says there is much more pain to come – Wall Street Journal
- The rotten heart of Europe? – Irish Independent (2000)
- The Rotten Heart of Europe; Bernard Connolly – Faber and Faber, new edition
- A look inside “the rotten heart of Europe” with Bernard Connolly – CNBC
- The Rotten Heart of Europe: Bernard Connolly and Anatole Kaletsky discuss – BBC