1939: Rules of the Game – Jean Renoir
At the risk of being political, I am going to express my views about mooted changes to the European Union. We might all have a wish or desire for peace and goodwill to all and are perhaps reminded of this as we write and open the Christmas post. We wish for these things, because we would like them to become true (well most of us anyway). However, we are not fool enough to think that peace and goodwill to all is something that occurs with the turn of a calendar date, it is something that it desired, worked towards, but in reality is illusive. We may genuinely want these noble things, but we know that deep down that our own peace is a pre-requisite.
So whilst we might wish for the Europeans to work well together, get along and all be prosperous anyone with an ounce of wisdom knows that wishing is not the same as achieving. Greater European integration of economic and social policy would solve the Eurozone crisis, but only if everyone accepts and adopts the same rules, which they won’t. The self-interests and differences in culture are too significant to overcome with rules. It will fail. Politicians are optimists and often delusional to believe that significant change can be made quickly and an electoral system keeps them needing to believe the optimism rather than dealing with the reality. A single European state cannot police its own rules, having more will not make it easier.
Until politicians recognise that the Euro should be a currency to price international trade, but no more, we will continue to pour more money into a system that will not work. The Euro is only 10 years old, yet to the way the media report on it one would think that national currencies did not exist. We cannot even get our own small scale local Governments to agree so why would this be achieved on a bigger scale? Arguments about pension inflation and accrual rates are inconsequential when considered in light of a homogeneous welfare state, social, taxation and economic policy across Europe.
The way out of the Eurozone problem is painful. It means acknowledging failure and rebuilding. In my opinion it means returning to national currencies. If the Eurozone were a house, a surveyor would be warning that the foundations are faulty. They will not be improved by knocking down a couple of walls and doing some re-wiring.
Sorry, but I do not believe that more rules and greater integration will work and whilst there may be short-term relief (because something is being done) the long term problems will remain. So I remain considerably concerned for Europe.
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