The Euro Game Is Up!
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil
Well. I guess that's that then.
I remember a few years back when Europe decided to band together to create the Euro project, my first thought was how are they going to reconcile everyone in every European country to adopt a single international currency and completely abandon their individual identities along with their respective currencies, flags, anthems, and every other form of nationalism. Go figure, eh?
You know, at this point it's going to eventually be almost as much trouble unadopting the Euro as it was to adopt the currency in the first place for most of you folks.
Samson: He definitely hit them with both barrels at once. I don't know if our congress could handle that much directness without members screaming about sanctions and such.
Most of the stuff Farage talks about goes way beyond that though, like when they wouldn't even let Ireland hold elections until they approved a budget the EU was happy with. Any country willing to give up their sovereignty in the name of the EU probably deserves to go under. The Europeans obviously didn't learn from their own history at all.
That's hardly the only oddity of the EU and it's policies at this point. In fact, I'm not even sure it's the oddest of them.
Is that what he's talking about? Hell, here our government will not only subsidize farmers to leave certain fields fallow during certain seasons/years, they'll even directly pay you to grow certain crops that don't have as much interest at market to keep the produce sections of the grocery stores more balanced.
Funny, the bit about not having learned from their own history is exactly what I was thinking when I was commenting that they'd basically voluntarily given up their nationalism and individual identities. Hasn't there been something on the order of a half dozen dictators over the years who've tried to conquer all of Europe at one time or another? Had any of them succeeded then surely that would've had the same unifying effect but instead of them being called EU like some bizarre new symbol on the periodic table of elements, they'd have all been a single country: Roman, British, French, Italian, German, whichever...
But, okay, I'll concede the point that the pound and Mark (I really thought it was Marc ) weaken the Euro by still existing because without them the Euro's primary purpose was defeated before it really began.
The Euro government as anything but open. One has no right to check up on what is going on! Half the EU budget goes to subsidize farmers who can't support themselves, and they have to grow crops nobody wants because that is what they get paid from the EU to grow, and it all goes on the rubbish heap.
And the wasting of money! Gawd! Remember when the whole cabinet what not, moved every other month, the whole shebang, just because the seat of power was not agreed upon.
And when the chairman gives France an upbraiding because they are behaving like bigot nation from the forties, she has to take it back since none is allowed to rock the boat.
You know Prostitution and Politics are the two oldest occupations in history. Oh wait, they are one and the same. :D
I don't know where you all got the idea that Germany is outside the euro zone. Most of my EUR coins have the German eagle on them. The D-Mark came to an end in 2002. This was the whole point of the Euro project! If Germany had declined, there would have been no Euro, and likely no German reunification.
The pound is worth about 1 Euro give or take a few cents, which is about $1.30 to $1.40 (the dollar fluctuates a lot these days). Also, the absolute exchange rate isn't what determines the strength of a currency, its stability does. At about 83 Japanese Yen for a dollar, no one is seriously arguing that the yen is a weak currency, right? Neither dollar nor Euro nor Sterling is very stable these days, all three of them steadily losing ground vs Asia.
I'm not sure about the UK having a stronger economy than say France. Before the crisis hit, the France had either a larger GDP per capita than the UK or about the same, depending on the source. Since the crisis hit, and the UK housing bubble burst, it's looking a lot bleaker. The UK has a deficit of more than 11% of the GDP and a national debt of more than 70%, figures as bad as those of the USA these days, but without the political and military clout to be able to tell creditors to uhm... persuade creditors if need be.
You all get all your news about the EU filtered through fleet street, which is frankly biased, and has an agenda. The UK doesn't want to be part of Europe, but also doesn't want to be left behind, so it's in there always seeking to throw a spanner in the works. We don't really notice much of a mess, to be honest. No more than in the UK or the USA, in my experience. A war between France and Germany is pretty difficult to imagine these days, and I can drive from Cadiz to Tallinn without having to stop at borders or go through customs (and starting next month, pay with the same currency) and I can order stuff from Poland without paying import duties. All things these things were different when I was a kid. I consider the EU a success. The EU "government" has little power, because of its confederate, not federal model. The power lies with the governments of the member states.
National identity turns out not to lie in a currency, and posting stern uniformed men at a border does little to protect it. It's mostly language, ethnicity and history. The French are still arrogant bullies, the Italians still sly and scheming, the Dutch are still without culture, and the Germans are still wonderful, industrious people with a great sense of humor and a lovely cuisine. National identity in Europe isn't as strong as in the USA anyway. Sometimes it follows national borders, but often it's much more regional than that.
Lately, due to the crisis, some liberals and left wing populists have been voicing their doubts about the EU. They see it as a libertarian force, and I think some of their voters fear they can't compete in a larger, open market. Contrary to what you all might think, it's not a left wing liberal project.
A country isn't just square miles. Australia has a population of 22 million, about the same as Taiwan.
It also seems to me like the EU has more than just a confederacy level of power if they can badger Ireland into revoting on a treaty they didn't want or badger them into passing an approved budget before the EU would allow them to hold elections. That kind of power in a true confederacy doesn't exist, and national sovereignty actually has meaning.
As far as being able to bully our creditors, I seriously doubt we can just thumb our noses at China and get away with it militarily. Although a war on that level would probably do wonders for our economy the same way it did in WWII.
22 million people is small. That's not even half the population of the state I live in here in the USA.
Often he sounds like he's on cocaine to me. A number of things he said were very strange. The EU has no
say in elections in member states, Portugal does not have a national debt of 325% but has economic figures comparable to the UK of mr. Farage. It's not really fair that Portugal is being lumped in with Greece and Ireland, as its government responded quite responsibly to the crisis. Speculation on a government bond crisis is becoming a self fulfilling prophecy there. His ad hominem attacks on mr van Rompuy and the entire nation of Belgium were not exactly civilized.
Portugal's public debt is expected to reach 86pc of GDP this year. The Achilles Heel is private debt and reliance on foreign bank funding. Combined debt is 325pc of GDP, compared to 247pc for Greece.
The 325% figure is apparently their combined public + private debt, which IMO fits precisely what Farage has said. He didn't say it was their public debt, he called it their debt levels, which is entirely accurate. Wasn't that hard to confirm.
I will concede that he shouldn't have been insulting to Van Rompuy, but a quick scan of various websites discussing the subject suggests that Farage was also correct about Belgium having no government for the last 6 months or so. Who knows, that might turn out to be a good thing for the people of Belgium. Just like it might be a great idea for our own government to be forced to shut down while our budget mess gets sorted out.
There's Euroscepticism, which is a main stream political view in Europe, and there is xenophobia, which I'm afraid mr. Farage represents here.