February 23, 2010
The Greek farce rewrote the dynamics of the European Union.
The traditional line between foreign policy and domestic policy is blurred among the members of the European Monetary Union and so will stay for the foreseeable future. Which is, in another respect, a new phase in the ongoing EU process, namely the ever closer union.
The Greek fiscal problems and the perception that the Southern flank of the EU cannot be financed through the international money market changed this situation. I think, it is a structural change.
The stumbling and crumbling of the euro-system shows that this is a structural challenge. Countries that were able to fight off threats by depreciating their money can not do it anymore. International pools are dried for financing. Greece is facing a mounting pressure from the healthier European countries to cut its deficit.
These abstract words as „deficit and „social expenses” are covering important aspects of people’s life. It was the first time that the international press used a new comparison, saying why would a retired German engineer agree to freeze his pension in order to finance Greek people to retire much more early then he can do. Germans must work till their sixties, while Greeks can retire at 54.
Meanwhile, Greek politicians are saying that deeper restrictions would lead to a resistance of the Greek people. So Berlin and Paris, London and The Hague must consider aspects that used to belong to domestic politics.
If the EU tries to solve the financial tricks of its members, it needs a constant and suspicious surveillance system and a structure that put pressure on its members. But it also means that euro-members must make a convergence on areas that used to be considered the realms of national sovereignity. Taxes, financial burdens, loans from abroad, social expenses must be scrutinized by the euro-members. These topics are deeply social ones. Ordinary people’s salary, benefits must be considered on a European level for the stability of the common money.
This is the dream of European federalists. European countries have been very resistant to fulfill this dream at its best. Money, and the link it creates among its recipients, would make it.Péter Kóczián