Greece is being mugged, forced at financial gunpoint to hand over everything it has to Brussels and the banks: economic and political sovereignty, public enterprises, the living standards of its people. Less than a decade after the first euro notes entered circulation, we are glimpsing the full impact of the single European currency.
The name of the game is political control. That is why the euro, an economic instrument, was introduced – to allow Europe’s bankers to control a continent. Never mind that the price is the ruination of countries and peoples.
The euro has turned Ireland once more into an island of emigration. It has brought 20 per cent unemployment to Spain. It has impoverished Portugal. And this is the currency that the Scottish National Party aspires to! Does it want Scotland to be wiped off the face of the map?
Back in Brussels, it’s business as usual. Buoyed up by Commission and Parliament salaries and its NATO headquarters, Brussels is one of the richest cities in Europe. Yet more than 20 per cent of the population, the people who actually live there, are out of work. That tells you all you need to know about the European Union.
Meanwhile, in the part of the city they call the European Quarter, the gleaming European Union buildings are still being built and enlarged and new ones planned. The limousines wait purring by the pavements. The unelected and barely elected dream their dreams of power and draw their tax-free salaries. The European Parliament calls for a minimum 5 per cent increase in the European Union budget and Europe-wide taxes – and the end of the British rebate.
But the cracks are showing. Leaks in German newspapers show that country considering heaving Greece out of the euro. Britain’s refusal to join has been a major weakness for the EU. And the EU Council of Ministers is now even discussing changing the Schengen agreement to allow internal passport checks during a “crisis”.
In truth, every day is now crisis day for the European Union. Its plan for Greece will leave that country’s economy in even greater distress than it now is. Outside of the corridors of Brussels or the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, financial commentators are unanimous that sooner or later, Greece will default. They probably know that too in the European Commission and the ECB, but desperate times call for desperate blinkers.
More worrying still for the EU are the increasing numbers on the streets of Athens who are talking about national sovereignty. “Peoples of Europe, Arise,” read one banner, and rightly so. There is no “European people”, only nations. The working classes of Europe – the British working class included – must claim national sovereignty in their class interest, or see their countries laid waste to feed the avarice of bankers.
The Roman historian Tacitus reported that the British chieftain Calgacus, mustering his troops before facing the Roman general Agricola in northern Scotland around AD 83, said of Rome, “They make a desert and call it peace.” Two thousand years later, you could say just about the same of the Treaty of Rome, which set up the EU. It is making an economic desert of an entire continent, and calling it stability.
Peoples of Europe, arise! ■