It's the Euro, Stupido

20 May 2018

It's the Euro, Stupido

First and foremost, I'm no fan of the Italian Lega, one of the coalition partners in the budding government of that country and a party which is certainly on the right. The other coalition partner, the Five Star Movement, is rather unpredictable, but I do often find that I can cooperate well enough with them in the European Parliament. One thing I can understand about this new Italian coalition is that both parties want to cast off the European yoke, especially when it come to 'European economic governance'. And that's why I'm fed up of reading stuff in the mainstream media that expresses the hope that this anti-EU government will fall as quickly as possible. I'd say the media would be better off looking at what's wrong with the euro than going along with the European establishment.

It certainly wouldn't be in the Netherlands' interest were Italy to run up enormous additional debts and then ask the European Central Bank to write them off. Italy is no Greece and debt forgiveness is at the very least less urgent, but the country is certainly suffering under the euro, with no lira to regularly devalue. This means that competitiveness can only be maintained by reducing wages and spending on social provision, as well as by forceful innovation to raise labour productivity. Meanwhile, net exporting countries such as the Netherlands and Germany profit from the reduced competitiveness of Italy as a member of the eurozone. The fact that the EU and the euro have become less popular in Italy is completely logical.

This has also often been predicted by economists. You can't keep expecting people in the economically weaker eurozone countries to stand by and watch their pensions crumbling away, to remain content to see enormously high unemployment, especially amongst young people, and their wages put under relentless pressure. For Italy, as for Greece and on occasion the rest of the EU, added to these problems is the need to accommodate the stream of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers. That's why I want to ask the mainstream media to stop going along with the financial markets and the Brussels bubble, and look rather more deeply into what southern Europe is having to contend with. The only country of that region which is doing relatively well is Portugal, but that's a result of the fact that the government there, which enjoys the support of the left, has ignored Brussels' diktats and opted to invest. The financial markets have to date caused more financial misery than governments which embrace the people's anger, including their criticisms of Brussels. So my message to the media is, 'it's the euro, stupido'. That's where you should be looking, instead of lurching along behind Brussels.

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