The German edition of Der Spiegel opens the new week on Monday morning with a series of articles on the European situation, which make clear, as if that were still necessary, that Europe is still an absolute mess. You know, just in case you thought it was not. That Mario Draghi’s latest unlimited whatever it is had somehow chased away the demons.
First, Der Spiegel writes that the Greek deficit is twice as high as previously thought,, at €20 billion, according to a preliminary version of the long awaited troika report. The gap has to be closed for the next tranche of bailout money to be paid.
Second, eurozone countries plan to let the ESM balloon to over €2 trillion ($2.6 trillion). Remember that the German Constitutional Court limited Berlin’s part to about €119 billion recently. Creative accounting to infinity and beyond. The efforts to keep the union together will blow it apart.
Third, former German FInance Minister Steinbrueck works on a banking plan that would split up investment and retail activities for Germany’s banks (including Deutsche), think Glass Steagall. He wants to ban commodities speculation. And he wants a bank-ESM, a fund paid for by banks that can be used to bail them out, rather than taxpayer money.
There’s lot more going on, and going wrong, in Europe, no matter what Draghi does, and no matter what plans José Manuel Barroso unveils. When I saw that the latter was seriously talking about establishing a European army, I couldn’t help thinking: will it bring all those translators to the battlefield too?
Europe is not a country, it is not a culture, and it is not a language. It is a loose union that consists of many of each. Europe can hold together in times of plenty, and it will fall apart in meagre times. The only thing Europeans have power over – to a degree – is how the process of unravelling will unfold; they can’t stop the process. The present attempts to hold the union together at all costs will be extremely costly, they have zero chance of succeeding, and they will lead to violence. The alternative, an attempt to live together as good and peaceful neighbors outside of a currency union, is not even considered. And I’m pretty sure it won’t be until it’s too late.
Hedge fund king Ray Dalio last week expressed the same fears I have been hammering on for months now, see for instance Project Europe is Over, Dear Angela, It’s Time To Do The Right Thing and A Big Bad Brick Wall. I will always be reluctant to evoke Hitler’s name, because it will inevitably be interpreted by many people as over the top fear-mongering, and because of the WWII survivor stories I grew up with, but the principle remains the same. A few weeks ago, I finally did resort to using the name, for the simple reason that in my view the threat in Europe is growing by the day:
What Makes Mario Draghi So Dangerous For Europe
Europe is creating conditions – of misery, poverty and hopelessness – in a number of its member states [..], that are not unlike those that provided the space needed by the likes of Hitler and Mussolini to rise to power in the 1920s and ’30s. And that is a grave danger.