Friday, December 2, 2011

Sarkozy's Great Lie

From today's Open Europe news summary:

Sarkozy: “Europe’s re-foundation is not a march towards more supra-nationality”;
Calls for greater use of qualified majority voting in the eurozone
In a keynote speech on the state of French economy and the future of Europe yesterday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that he will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday to finalise Franco-German proposals for EU Treaty change, to be discussed at the next meeting of eurozone and EU leaders on 8-9 December. In contrast to Merkel’s plans to give the European Commission and the ECJ more power to enforce budgetary discipline on eurozone countries, Sarkozy said, “A more democratic Europe is a Europe where it’s [national] political leaders who decide…Europe’s re-foundation is not a march towards more supra-nationality…The crisis pushed heads of state and government to take on growing responsibilities, because, at the end of the day, they were the ones who had the democratic legitimacy that allowed them to decide. European integration will go the inter-governmental way because Europe will have to make strategic choices, political choices.”
Outlining his ideas for reform of economic governance in the eurozone, Sarkozy said that “every eurozone country must adopt a 'golden rule' enshrining the balanced budget target in its juridical order,” adding that in future eurozone countries should take more decisions by qualified majority. He also said that the ECB “has obviously a decisive role to play. There is debate over what it is allowed to do under its statute. I don't want to weigh into that debate. The ECB is independent. It will stay independent. I'm convinced that, in light of the deflationary risk which threatens Europe, the ECB will act. It's up to the ECB to decide when and with what means.”
An editorial in Le Figaro argues that Sarkozy “has promised [Merkel] the budgetary golden rule, the sanctions against countries that violate the rules, the respect for the independence of the ECB. It’s now up to the [German] Chancellor to decide if she also wants to accept a compromise to save the euro, through the mutualisation of national debts.” On his Le Monde blog, Arnaud Leparmentier stresses Sarkozy’s “intellectual incoherence”, adding, “The President imagines a French veto in Europe, but considers that smaller countries must accept the majority principle.”

Notice that Sarkozy says that "smaller countries must accept the majority principle". He means that they must accede to being run by French and German bureaucrats. (Hitler and Napoleon would be proud.) This crisis was caused by the misconstruction (as Professor Philipp Bagus calls it) of the euro and the abandonment of the immediate post-WWII vision of a truly liberal Europe of free trade and free people. Sarkozy's vision is of a protectionist European bloc against the rest of the world and a highly regulated, socialist government internally. If Europe does in fact go this route, it will stagnate and fail. It is the time for Europe's true statesmen to oppose this socialist march to totalitarianism.

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