From now on, in Europe, everything gets worse

LONDON (MarketWatch) — A nightmare for France, Italy and Spain. A godsend for far-right nationalist parties across Europe. As the result of the Friday the 13th downgrades, everything gets much more difficult. The slow-motion train crash of economic and monetary union (EMU) has suddenly speeded up. The place in the film where the track breaks up and the railcars spill into the ravine cannot be far away.

The movie we’re watching is actually an old one. Each country is reverting to type. Standard & Poor’s removal of France and Austria from the AAA list, the downgrading of Spain, Italy and several other euro members, and the maintained top credit rating for Germany and the Netherlands confirms the “winner takes all” polarization within economic and monetary union.

The Germans become more self-righteous, because they fear that, if they stray from the path of orthodoxy, France’s fate will be theirs. The French become more fractious, the Italians more irritated, the Greeks more gruesome.

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