The rise to government of Eurosceptic parties is the consequence of austerity policies made in the name of cleaner public finances and of the euro convergence criteria.
Two Eurosceptic forces are now governing Italy. On one hand the 5-Star Movement, the anti-system party of Luigi de Maio founded by the humorist Beppe Grillo. On the other, far-right xenophobic Liga led by Matteo Salvini. How could this have happened? How did one of the European Union’s six founding members, host of Treaty of Rome in 1957, and for a long time the EU’s most Europhile country, give a parliamentary majority to groups so hostile to European integration? Continue reading →
All roads continue to lead to Berlin, the powerhouse that runs and dictates Europe’s future. In this case, Berlin is spearheading an effort to keep Italy subjugated before an economic crisis (it’s already capitalizing off of) gets politically out of hand as it did in Greece, which is now a German vassal state. It’s Germany’s goal to create a United States of Europe and economic levers are but one tactic in harmonizing Europe how it sees fit in achieving that end.
ROME/BERLIN (Own report) – Following massive complaints from Germany, Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella blocked a euroskeptic from becoming his country’s finance minister, appointing an IMF man – favored by Berlin – to be prime minister. The democratically elected 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right Lega Nord majority’s opportunity to form a government was thereby denied. Euroskeptic Paolo Savona, a renowned career economist, was rejected because he could not have insured the maintenance of the EU’s common currency. Under his administration, resistance to Berlin’s austerity dictate could have been expected, whereas the newly appointed Prime Minster Carlo Cottarelli passed the test a few years ago as the Rome government’s austerity commissioner (“Mr. Scissors”). Savona’s nomination is the result of Italy’s growing euroskepticism, which, in the meantime, is also shared by other economists. “Germany profits, Italy loses” through the introduction of the euro, concludes Savona’s alternative candidate to the post of finance minister.
This is precisely why it’s oft said here that all roads in Europe lead to Berlin.
Germany is back with a Fourth Reich and has subjugated the entire European continent. If you’re looking for Nazis in Panzers, you’re roughly 70 years too late, as economic and political means were used. The leaders in Europe will continually push for integration and more integration until the United States of Europe dream is realized, even by economic and political force if necessary. Some nations will eventually leave while some, such as Greece, will stick around because they believe in the fantasy. There will be roughly ten in the end.
She’s the most dominant leader in the euro zone with virtual veto power over decisions
“The lesson of this crisis is more Europe, not less Europe,” Angela Merkel said in 2012 as the integrity of the region’s monetary union was threatened by financial instability, touched off by Greek debt, that was spreading through the euro zone’s weaker economies. By “more Europe,” the German chancellor meant a deepening of the continent’s noble mission—peaceful integration to ensure prosperity and democracy—of which the common currency, the euro, is the ultimate symbol.
In the intervening three years, Greeks have come to understand “more Europe” as something different: “more Germany.” That was one of the few clear messages sent in a referendum on July 5 that had everything to do with Greek voters’ views on how Merkel had imposed her vision of Europe on the zone and if their troubled nation would be better served as part of its grand project, or not.
Some think he’s still a comedian, however, he has it right in knowing that all roads in the European economic crisis lead to Berlin as it seeks to control Europe’s destiny for the fourth time.
In an interview with the German business newspaper Handelsblatt, Mr Grillo said: “The northern European countries are only holding onto us until their banks have recouped their investments in Italian sovereign bonds. Then they’ll drop us like a hot potato.” The comic-turned-political activist, who campaigned against austerity measures implemented by Prime Minister Mario Monti, compared the technocrat prime minister to “a bankruptcy trustee acting on behalf of the banks” and described his Five Star Movement as: “the French revolution – without the guillotine.”
He repeated his call for a referendum on Italian membership of the euro and insisted he was not anti-European, but a critic of the way the EU has evolved.
“I have only said we need a plan B. We need to ask ‘What has become of Europe? Why do we have no common tax or immigration policy? Why is only Germany getting richer?‘,” he said. Continue reading →
Italy plunged deeper into political chaos this weekend after Beppe Grillo, the quixotic former comedian who holds the balance of power in parliament, suggested that the country may have to abandon the euro and return to the lire.
The rebel comic’s warning came amid a growing rebellion among grass-roots supporters of his Five Star Movement, with 150,000 signing a petition calling for him to open up dialogue with the centre-Left Democratic Party, the biggest force in parliament. Continue reading →
Across Europe, the people are protesting. But they’re not fed up with a particular party or person. They’re rallying against the whole political system.
Between 100,000 and 200,000 people turned out to protest in Bulgaria last Sunday. That’s a lot of people for a small country—around 2 percent of the whole population. “Bulgarians rarely overcome their apathy to go out on the streets,” notes the EU Observer. “They don’t usually believe they can make a difference by protesting.”
What prompted them to turn out this time? The government had already stepped down a few days earlier. They were protesting against no one. Continue reading →
For three or four months, European leaders have been confidently proclaiming the crisis essentially over. It seems they spoke too soon, as indeed they always seem to in this long-running euro-soap.
Last time a political crisis threatened to undermine the euro, the response was to impose unelected technocratic governments on the offending nations. It won’t be so easy this time around. Italians are in open rebellion, with Mario Monti’s pro-reform Civic Choice finishing a distant fourth in the elections. Italians have voted en masse against Berlin’s prescriptive austerity agenda.
The left-leaning Pier Luigi Bersani is still hoping to form a minority government, possibly with support from the comedian Beppe Grillo. Please don’t laugh: this is serious. They’ll make odd partners. The dull Mr Bersani could hardly be more different, yet to him almost anything would be preferable to leaping into bed with Silvio Berlusconi, which is the alternative. Whatever. Continue reading →
Europe’s brief respite from political and financial turmoil has come to an abrupt halt in the wake of a nerve-rattling Italian election, Britain’s loss of its cherished triple-A credit rating and troubling developments on other fronts.
On Monday, the euro fell to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in six weeks, but strengthened slightly against the British pound, which was shaken by the credit downgrade announced late Friday by Moody’s Investors Service. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost more ground in a single session that at any time since November. Italian bonds plunged and German bonds and U.S. Treasuries rallied, as nervous investors once again looked for safer harbours.
Two unlikely political hotheads – loudmouth comedian Beppe Grillo and Silvio Berlusconi, the aging schmoozer who never says die – turned the Italian election on its head, virtually guaranteeing that the country faces a period of political chaos. Continue reading →