In a recent post, we read that
With the Social Democrats (S&D) and the conservatives (EPP) neck-and-neck in ever more refined EU wide opinion pools, the lead up to the European elections has never been more exciting. It’s down to one seat whether the next Commission president is Social Democrat or Conservative.
I am sure that there are some in Brussels who think that giving voters an indirect say in who becomes Commission President is exactly what we need to boost interest in the forthcoming European elections, and give the European project some democratic legitimacy.
By the way, does anyone know what the EPP or Social Democratic position on the Eurozone crisis is? (I think I know what Marine Le Pen wants.)
I have another proposal to enhance the democratic legitimacy of the project: allow voters to fundamentally change the direction of policy, should they so choose. Reverse the “treaty-isation” of particular economic policies. Stop trying to make the commitment to austerity democracy-proof.
7 replies on “Gosh, isn’t that exciting!”
“allow voters to change the direction of policy”. That sounds awefully like an one of those South Dublin dinner party lines …”why can’t we all just get along and agree to disagree”.
Member states have elections and voters can change poilicy any time they want. If the want to vote for an “magic money tree polciy” they can. The Irish people can and probably will elect a SF/FF +others coalition in 1916. Then the fun begins.
“Reverse the “treaty-isation” of particular economic policies. Stop trying to make the commitment to austerity democracy-proof.”
Those two phrases merit reflection. They seem to capture what has been happening at EZ level over the past number of years. The rules that are handed down will have to be complied with, regardless of democracy.
The Eurostat inflation report should be putting the fear of deflation uppermost in everyone’s mind.
@Grumpy re: Bloomberg link
“Governments typically can rely on accelerating prices to ease debt loads, according to Laurence Boone, chief European economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London. Boone calculates that even if inflation remains subdued, debt burdens as a share of GDP will increase in the next six years by 24 percentage points for Spain, 21 points for Italy and 10 points for France, raising the risk of fresh fiscal austerity.
“Debt dynamics could be seriously damaged by continuing surprises” on price gains, Boone said. ”
If Boone is correct, then six years from now, Italy will have a Debt /GDP similar to that which Greece has today!!
Draghi has some real thinking to do, if that is the case. On the positive side, he is very capable. I would not bet against him, yet.
the founding treaties of the Euro said “no bail out, price stability”.
To suggest that “Governments typically can rely on accelerating prices to ease debt loads”
is a fundamentally C R I M I N A L attack against not just mere laws, subject to majorities, but constitutional principles, the rule of law in itself.
Whenever you hear someone rabbiting on about the sanctity (and sometimes majesty) of current laws you have found someone who the current laws suit.
Saying that a return to functional economic policy is an attack “against not just mere laws, subject to majorities but… the rule of law in itself” is also the classic rhetorical ellision of the legalist. Majorities have to vote for laws (at some level of organization) but these majorities are often not involved in framing the laws. Laws are instead made by the powerful or in their interests with the majority having no choice but except to accept a bad new law or suffer a worse one.
So it was with Germany’s idiotic and cruel fiscal compact, rammed down the throats of Europe’s less powerful countries under threat of economic collapse caused by an existing dysfunctional legal framework of EMU. So it is with new phoney bank resolution framework.
Remember Francis that slavery, wife and child beating, debtors prisons and summary dismissal were once legal and they were legal because they enforced a power relationship between the strong and the weak, not because they were morally (or even practically) justified.
The remit of the ECB to pursue only low inflation regardless of the human costs and economic costs in the EU periphery is another such broken and immoral law.