by Chris Becker
The public image of the European experiment is that it has been setup to bring Europe closer together financially, culturally and strategically, a melting pot of medium-sized States so that one big entity cannot shape or rule the continent’s future.
The reality is Germany rules Europe for Germany. The financial gains for the central power have been enormous as they swapped their expensive Mark for a cheap Euro, foisted cheap credit onto the peripheral economies, and then raked in the export dollars.
But decades of shaping monetary policy, including failed austerity measures in the post-GFC deflationary era, from the inflation-obsessed ECB and their forcing of mercantilist policies on the whole of Europe maybe coming to an end, with France joining in a new alliance with the South. Is there a rebellion against the Empire?
Major EU nations including France, Italy and Spain are clubbing together to form a new alliance with the aim of wrestling back economic power from the German leader.
The leaders of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta are planning to meet in Athens next month to forge a new anti-austerity alliance with the aim of wrestling back control of the European Central Back (ECB), which sets Eurozone fiscal policy, from Berlin.
It is being headed up by Greek premier Alexis Tsipras, who has frequently clashed with both Mrs Merkel and Brussels over the crippling austerity which has brought his country to its knees.
Preliminary discussions on how to outmanoeuvre the all-powerful German leader had already taken place, with Mr Tsipras and his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi having held informal talks about the possibility of setting up an “Alliance of Europe’s South” on the sidelines of June’s EU summit. The leaders want the group to push for a pro-growth agenda and will now hold their first meeting in the Greek capital on September 9, according to the Athens News Agency.The participation of France – traditionally seen as the EU’s second most powerful member – will lend huge weight to the project and may make it difficult for Mrs Merkel to continue to resist calls to loosen the purse strings.
Indeed. As was the case before the Great War and World War Two, France remains Germany’s largest trading partner. But its economy continues to suffer from the ECB/EU imbroglio, with its other major partners – all in the South – unable to recover under the boot of austerity.
This is why those – particularly on the “intelligent” left – are wrong to sneer at Brexit, however maligned its originators might be. Because the upheaval is allowing for a “rethink” of how Europe will actually work in a post-Brexit (or not) future – one where the German mercantile juggernaut cannot continue to dominate at the expense of the welfare of hundreds of millions of Southern Europeans.