2/11/2010

Greek economic mess highlights everything that is wrong with Europe


Lets manke one thing clear, I am not a great fan of the EU, the way it works, its institutions, its parliament or most of its policies. Like communism, the idea of the EU makes a lot of sense, but just like Communism, in practise it simply does not stand up to scrutiny.

The EU is a club whereby members are expected to follow rules, show honesty and respect for each other and work for the greater good. the problem is, it fails on all these counts.

Take Greece and her financial travails today. Each country that joined the Euro was supposed to sign up to a stability pact. It means that each country had to follow strict financial rules. The fact is that Greece never ever met the criteria, but because the rest of the EU wanted as many countries as possible to be in the Euro, the EU bent the rules, in effect tore up the rules book in order to shoe horn Greece in.

Is it any wonder that a few years later we find that the Greek national accounts are a fabrication with billions of Euros unaccounted for as the Greeks simply borrowed more and more money in order to avoid the obvious need to make cuts. The Greeks knew that they were not going to be forced to trim spending because the  EU knew that the Greeks never had the financial stabilty to be in the Euro.Let's not just blame the Greeks though. Germany, the authors of the stability pact also broke the rules, not as badly as the Greeks, but they did all the same.

So what does this tell us ? Essenially it says that the foundations on which the EU is built are works of fiction.

It'd not just the Euro though. The problems with countries across the EU is that they all break EU rules, and are allowed to get away with it.

Do you remember the French banning British beef ? They were supposedly being fined every day that they persisted in banning British beef. And what happened when several years later than the rest of the EU the French lifted the ban ? The EU let the French off ! What is the point of rules, fines and agreements if the EU ignores it respinsibility to other nations.

In truth almost everyone knows that the EU does not really work. If it disappeared tomorrow, nobody would really notice. The old story that the EU has kept European nations from fighting wars against each other is ridiculous. There are so many things that link European nations, most notably mutual trade, that claiming that without the EU we would have had a war devalues and belittles the fact that European countries have matured and grown up.

So what of Greece ? What of Europe ? In the short term, it appears the Euro will lose value and so holidays to Europe will be cheaper this year. That's at least some good news for us in the UK.

6 comments:

Manfarang said...

"European nations have matured and grown up"
The Balkans aren't in Europe?

dazmando said...

Agreed if you are going to have rules there has to be consequences. and if you break the rukes you should not be bailed out and if you are fined they should be inforced otherwise whats the point in rules, why bother.

Norfolk Blogger said...

The Balkans were, at the time, new democracies or not even democracies at all. Arguably, with the exception of Bosnia, neither Croatia or Serbia were democratically elected, so the comparisons are not really fair.

James Higham said...

Write to your PPCs, Nich and let's get this referendum so we can have a chance of getting out of this monstrous organization.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I thought the Lib Dems were the only westminster party in many a year that had actually proposed an "in-out" referendum ?

Anonymous said...

Yes you are right (Ming tried to get it dropped).

We need a looser collection of European nations working together. The EU has become a Byzantine monster. How did we Liberal Democrats get to the point where we are defending a illiberal and undemocratic institution. I guess our internationalist outlook and rejection of the little Englanders’ argument, blinded us to what was going on.

It is not in the interests of any nation for Greece to go bust, and we should help if we can out of enlightened self-interest.

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