• With every passing day the news in the Eurozone becomes more depressing. Ever bigger bailouts, riots in Greece and a helpless and somewhat lost look on German chancellor Angela Merkel’s face. But this week, the travelling circus that is the European Parliament came to Strasbourg and heard a rather different version of events.
On Wednesday morning at 9am European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso rose to deliver his “State of the Union” address. To my mind it was more a case of the union being in a state!
While he admitted that there were a few problems, he did, he assured us, have the answer. The solution was to be more “Europe”, using what is called the community method whereby the unelected commission runs everything.
He refuses to accept that the Euro has split Europe between north and south and is now greatly unloved. In countries like Finland a democratic revolution is under way, with the True Finns Party fighting the bailouts and leading in the opinion polls. In Greece, a troika of foreign officials now runs the country, determined to keep it trapped inside the economic prison of the Euro.
Panic and proposals
National governments are panicked and find making decisions difficult. So, the Barroso logic is that the EU institutions must take control.
Yes, that’s right! We must abolish national treasuries and democracies in the Eurozone and hand over total power to him and my old friend Herman van Rompuy. If the EU became a debt union all would be well. A new set of dictatorial transfers, known as the “six pack” proposals, were laid before us. Offending states were to be treated even more harshly than Greece; how they cheered in the chamber! I managed to resist shouting out that such behaviour leads to revolutions and waited my turn.
Then, astonishingly, we were told that a few hours before the commission had agreed to the introduction of a Financial Transaction tax. This, despite the fact that their own estimates had shown a resultant drop in growth. I could see, that as a former communist, how delighted Barroso was with this salvo.
This tax could cost the City of London an estimated £47bn a year, 80 per cent of the entire EU take.
Cameron does not only have the ability to veto this, he must.
If not, our biggest industry will be devastated and Tory donors would drop them like hot bricks. The fact that this idea has been introduced at all tells me that we really ought not to be there, veto or not.
An incompentence of EU presidents
My contribution to the “debate” met with the usual heckling and derision. It is strange that whenever I have a go they fine me, but never mind. I made the point that none of this was working and that Greece needs to be set free. I argued for a Europe of trade and co-operation, not one of unelected bullies where no one individual is accountable and in charge.
Hopefully I managed to coin a new collective noun for Presidents (of which the EU has many!), an incompetence! For once Barroso hit back with a strong denouncement of me and my “nationalist” philosophy.
They are scared in Brussels, very scared. To save their project they now want a big debate on the EU itself, convinced that the citizens will support them.
Bring it on!
Strange that in the face of this our own chancellor is arguing that there is a “remorseless logic” that must take eurozone states towards a fiscal and political union.
There is an alternative to this view.
Greece, Portugal and Ireland should be freed from the Euro and allowed to have competitive currency devaluations. Debt will need to be rescheduled but better that than lending even more money to countries who will never pay it back.