Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Populists: Disuniting united!

"Populist" parties, such as the euro-sceptics, euro-critiques and euro-implacable-foes, are likely to form a coalition for the EU Parliamentary elections of May 2013. You can guess why, I presume. They are rallying their troops in order to hinder - if not to demolish - the European integration. And the oxymoron: the "populists" unite to halt European Union. I was casually browsing news websites when the "Europe: United by hostility", by Joshua Chaffin of FT, drew my attention. It that was a bolt from the blue! In Greece, media have not yet covered this issue at all, at least to my attention.  I had earlier read a less dismal essay, "Watch out for the rise of a European Tea Party", by Gideon Rachman, again of FT; but I was not that concerned. Joshua Chaffin initially unveiled the oxymoron: "While the group [the European Alliance for Freedom, a "populist" alliance] opposes the EU, its principled stance has not prevented it from accepting more than €300,000 in EU funding."

Both articles are most insightful and informative. The former really terrified me... The latter justifies my horror (remember, that the Tea Party is a minority in Congress that induced the shut-down of the US government). In addition to terror, after reading the two articles left me with a feeling that the attention of our leaders is drawn to the wrong direction!

The point is that if we want to adequately address the voices inimical to euro we have to identify the facts that underlay their ascent. The facts are austerity in the periphery, on the one-hand; tax-funded bail-outs of the Euro-core, on the other. Poverty and unemployment are the consequences of the prolonged austerity, and only someone inept would doubt that. Similarly, core member countries' tax payers are fed up with financing the prodigal south. Once, it was Greece, for example, being presented as the counter example during pompous political speeches. Now, the fact that Spain, France and Italy are being pushed, in public, to implement austerity, invigorates expectations of more bail-outs. Therefore, all European citizens have incentives to vote to condemn the Eurozone.

A less inept argument in favour of austerity would be that competitiveness has been achieved and many more. However, there is only one truth: when you are impoverished you trust the plan that says "quit euro and that's the end of your misery", instead of the plan that says "be more patient and growth will come". That is not to say that the diction of pro-Europeans must be altered. Not at all. 

Uniting against the uniting disuniters is not a plan either. This is not a proper course of action because what underlays the rise of the "populists" is not a not inadequate adherence. But, instead, it is the fanatical adherence to austerity, because that is what creates poverty and unemployment, and that is what makes tax-payers fund the ailing North. 

The creation of the EMU is monumental, regardless its defects. We evaded its resolution and we are close enough to face yet another challenge, once more from the inside. Unless we re-examine our priorities and our current scheme of actions, then very soon we will have to face the insanity of a Tea Party. And do not fool yourselves by thinking that, ultimately, Eurozone will make it as the US did lately even with the Tea Party existing! Euro does not share the same history as dollar; particularly during the last five years....