Why are the euro creators getting standing ovations?
The panic is over and there is no need to worry. A few short months ago, MEPs looked very fearful that the euro was on the point of breaking up and their panic stricken speeches reflected this. Yet, as the crisis goes on, and on, and the EU’s finance ministers and heads of state take up semi-permanent residence in Brussels a feeling of normality has returned. “Euro must and will be saved,” is the cry.
I feel I am surrounded by hundreds of people who are all in denial and who continue with the vital work of voting on novelty foods and milk production.
The high priests of the EU project have concluded that there is only one real problem: we don’t have enough ‘Europe’. Last week the parliament passed a resolution for the introduction of ‘stability bonds’, which means a full debt union.
No one can even consider the possibility that the Germans may not want to sign blank cheques in perpetuity or that the medicine is killing the patient in Greece. Indeed the euro is repeatedly described as a great success.
Former Belgian Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt, said last week that ‘the euro is our source of growth’. Perhaps he is seeking an alternative career as a stand up comedian.
When I mentioned in my speech that Athens was in flames and that the contraction of the Greek economy had accelerated to seven per cent per annum, I was simply ignored. When I warned that all of this could lead to a revolution they just shuffled their papers. They have even stopped shouting at me.
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Their complacency is based on their dominance of national politics and politicians.
In both Italy and Greece, despite the removal of their elected Prime Ministers, the parliamentarians are behaving like rabbits staring into the headlamps of an approaching car. They can do as they’re told and seem to regard the suspension of democracy to be perfectly acceptable.
In the European chamber representatives of these colonised nations tell us that now the ‘right men’ are in charge. Some even fantasise about a return to growth. The fact that youth unemployment is 50 per cent in parts of southern Europe is quickly brushed aside.
But opposition is growing. In Greece a combination of left wing, anti-bailout parties are now commanding 45 per cent in the opinion polls. With a General Election looming in April the response is to demand that the election is delayed by a year. Nothing fazes this lot.
Many British MEPs too have been caught up in this on-going fantasy. Most Labour and Lib-Dem MEPs believe that the euro will be ‘saved’.
The Tory position is more curious. Last week the Italian puppet Prime Minister, Mario Monti, addressed the chamber. Though one of the chief architects of the current failure he was brimming with confidence and optimism about the Euro.
At the end of his speech the response of Tories was extraordinary. Some joined in with the standing ovation, others sat applauding warmly. Eurosceptic Roger Helmer remained seated, unimpressed, and continued reading the Daily Express. So much for a unified Tory approach to the EU.
I must confess that I did heckle Monti during his speech, with cries of ‘who elected you?’. A well known Tory looked appalled. If looks could kill.
What I find most remarkable is that an institution which constantly talks about human rights and welfare is prepared to support the protracted suffering of millions of ordinary people. Greek society is on the verge of breaking down and the latest austerity measures could drive a people now devoid of hope into a revolution. Crisis? What Crisis?