Greece’s social-democratic government announced 24 billion euros of cuts to get the EU/IMF 110 billion euro loan, including a three-year wage freeze for public sector workers, a pension freeze and a rise in the retirement age. There were May Day protests across the country, public sector workers conducted a 48-hour strike, and there have been two nation-wide general strikes.
No euro, thank you
A YouGov poll found that 65 per cent of British voters oppose joining the euro or giving the EU more powers over justice, banks, migration, climate change and defence. Since the EU created the euro in 1999, income per head in the eurozone rose more slowly than in the previous decade and growth in productivity halved.
Still, parliamentary parties think they know what is good for us. Former MEP Clegg admitted tha t we would have been worse off if we had joined the euro. Yet the 2010 Liberal Democrat election manifesto said, “We believe that it is in Britain’s long-term interest to be part of the euro”. At the same time the euro was falling under the strain of the Greek crisis.
Something wrong with the project
Problems in the eurozone are not just about economics. EU politicians see difficulties for the euro as a threat to the whole “European project”. One reason that Greece is under fire is that it rejected the British/US/EU scheme for Cyprus.
Finance ministers are being asked to gain EU approval for Budgets before presenting them to their own legislature. European banks hold $1.4 trillion of toxic assets compared to $1 trillion in US banks. That might be a better place to start looking for the cause of the crisis.
And while the euro sinks…
…clearly all sense of irony is sinking with it. The Belgian EU presidency, which begins in July, will be opened by 40,000 people dancing at the same time in 12 Belgian cities. Nero just played his fiddle.