Has the Euro become a one way love affair? An affair capable of strangling democracy for the cause of a flawed path wrapped in hubris. Journalist and Authors Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson examine in their book, Europe Isn’t Working, the inception, birth, and growth of a fairy tale currency planned to bring unity, jobs, and prosperity to the continent but instead has morphed into a economic straight jacket of uncertainty. How did so many smart people get it so wrong?
The Black and Paper Interview.
Can you explain the European left remained silent while Greece was forced into economic and political submission?
I would suggest that the awful truth proved by the Greek debacle – that there was nothing remotely progressive about the single currency – was simply too much to bear.
With the UK leaving the EU, has the Eurozone been placed in a corner regarding Greece? There is no option but for Greece to stay in the Zone.
I do not think there was ever much prospect of Greece leaving the euro, although a debt default was certainly on the cards for a while. We hear that the Greek government is unhappy with Brexit but it ought to ask why it is that it will not and never has countenanced leaving the euro.
How did the Euro evolve into a Neo-Liberal Trojan Horse?
It bore the imprint of the times in which it was created, the high water-mark of the free-market era. Furthermore, the currency was dreamed up by central bankers in cahoots with commercial bankers and industrialists, so its character is not all that surprising.
You wrote that the Technocrats are more interested in the financial class than the middle class. France just forced through new labour reform laws, is this legislation an example?
Yes, probably. From the outset, the euro-zone members have been told they need to “reform” their “sclerotic” welfare states. That was a big sell” for the euro for banking and big busness.
There are some bad guys and one lady in particular in your book, Merkel. She is credited with being a stabilizing force in Europe but according to you she has been the opposite. Can you expand on this?
Anyone who tries to strengthen the euro-zone is a force for instability simply because the euro is itself a force for instability. Mrs Merkel is no better or worse in this regard than other leaders, she is simply more powerful, thus generates more instability.
The Italian Job, presently, there are rumblings concerning Italian Banks and their level of exposure. Is this the next Euro Zone Crisis? How do you expect Monti to handle this?
We have been told on and off for five years that Italian banks would be the next domino to fall. It may happen, but if not there then another chunk of masonry in the euro-zone – to mix metaphors – will surely fall off.
After Brexit, the EU institutions have dug in and decided to maintain course, was this a surprise?
No. The EU proceeds by failure. The common market didn’t work so we “needed” a single market. That didn’t work, so we “needed” a single currency. That doesn’t work so the euro-zone “needs” a single fiscal policy. When that fails, the euro-zone will “need” a single government.
European Union officials appear as guilty as their American counterparts as far as the corporate revolving door; Barroso was hired by Sachs, what happened to the outcry?
I don’t really have a view on this. Larry? EU leaders are just as keen as jumping on the gravy train as US leaders. I would say the anti-establishment, anti-elite sentiment on both sides of the Atlantic has been fueled by the idea that the people at the top have done all right for themselves while ordinary people have not.
With many countries in stagnation in the Eurozone: France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Finland, why is there still a romance with the Euro?
I refer you to some of the enclosing words of our book:
At the end of Europe’s tormented 20th Century, scarred by the Great War, the Depression, the Second World War, the Holocaust and the Cold War, a visible, tangible symbol of the continent’s renaissance was at hand. Who with even a scrap of idealism could resist its charms?
We go on to say that it is always a bad idea to invest what are bits of economic machinery with emotional force. One should simply ask whether the mechanism works or not. The euro does not.
I will post my book review shortly. To obtain a copy of Europe Isn’t Working go to your local bookstore or order from Amazon.com