Crisis in the Eurozone
I’ve not posted on the European Union and European politics in a while, so here’s a short update.
Here in the United States the primary season is about to shift into general campaigning in preparation for November. In Europe, politicians are busy attempting to save the Continent (Well, the Euro) from collapse. From yesterday:
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has tendered his government’s resignation to Queen Beatrix, paving the way for early elections.
His cabinet was plunged into crisis when Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) quit talks aimed at slicing 16bn euros (£13.1bn) from the budget.
Mr Wilders refused to accept austerity demands to bring the budget deficit in line with EU rules.
His party was not part of the coalition but supported the minority government.
Dutch broadcaster Nos said Mr Rutte spent almost two hours on Monday afternoon at the queen’s palace in The Hague where he made the cabinet’s resignation official.
After he left, a government statement said that the queen had asked “all ministers and deputy ministers to continue to do everything that is necessary” in the Netherlands’ interests.
Mr Rutte’s government lasted just 558 days. Only three other Dutch administrations since World War II have been in office for shorter periods, Dutch news agency ANP says.
The Netherlands appears to be doing their best imitation of Belgium (where stable governments are as rare as fiscally responsible Democrats in the United States) at the moment. While I might disagree with Wilders decision to walk out from the negotiations, his decision to do so is understandable. Why, one might ask, should the Netherlands cut their budget at the request of the European Union while they at the same time have to prop up states like Greece and Italy because of their fiscal problems?
We should also put the crisis in the Netherlands in a larger context. Here is Daniel Hannan:
Many Dutch voters believe that they are being asked to retire later so that Italians can retire earlier: robbing Pieter to pay Paolo.
Their resentment is heightened by the EU’s profligacy. While it preaches austerity to the 27 member states, the European Commission unblushingly demands a 7 per cent increase in its own budget. There was a time, not long ago, when Brussels waste and sleaze went unreported by the Europhile Dutch media, but the internet has changed all that. Our sundered kindred are starting to see the EU as we see it, and to become angry.
Heaven knows they have plenty to be angry about. Since the crisis struck four years ago, Europe’s leaders have been concerned with preserving the single currency rather than with maximising the prosperity of the people who use it. It is now clear to almost everyone that the euro is a recessionary mechanism. It is causing deflation and emigration in the southern states, and threatens massive tax rises in the north.
While American politicians sometimes display a tremendous capacity for ignorance and logical fallacies, the Europeans are busy digging their own grave.