Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
As you know, I sometimes like to take an argument to its logical conclusion to see where it might lead to, regardless of whether that accords with conventional views of reality.  But I also like to be clear where there is supporting evidence and where what I am saying is, at best, hypothetical, and at worst, counterfactual.

In the case of your argument, you seem to be making the assumption that Southern European leaders are secret admirers of Yanis Varoufakis and are intent on ensuring that, unlike Greece, they will not allow their countries to become isolated, bullied into defeat by the Euro Group, and sold down a river.

I don't know (say) Italian politics well enough to be definitive, but I struggle to find any evidence to confirm your hypothesis. In fact, what evidence I see appears to confirm the opposite: That the hard nationalist right is in the ascendant and we are more likely to see a reversion to national currencies and nationalist/fascist policies than the creation of any grand redistributive schemes such as the Seuro.

The irony is that it turns out it was the UK, which has done relatively well out of the EU, which has been the first to call time on its participation in the European project. Greece probably had a much better cause for doing so.  But the consequence is that the EU is now in retrenchment mode and we are in the business of saving what we can rather than in engaging in new, collective, imaginative initiatives.

Even I am pushing the boundaries of political reality when I call for the development of much greater EU integration of health care, education & training, social welfare, pensions/retirement, procurement, energy sustainability and security, infrastructural development, and Governance systems even though you can make a very good rational case that such integration could deliver much greater collective benefits at reduced cost than isolated initiatives by individual member states. Thus, even though such policies would have a progressive redistributive impact, all members states could still be winners.

I am hoping that the shock of Brexit combined with the persistence of anaemic growth despite all monetary stimulus will enable a re-think.  The UK has always had a baleful influence on all community social market and integrationist initiatives, and so it's absence from the decision making process could be a positive.  However the tide may be going out on the European Project.  Merkel was the last European leader of real stature who could have made it happen, but her authority has been eroded by the refugee crisis and its impact on Germany. Hollande and Rajoy are lame ducks and the trend elsewhere is almost all in rightward, nationalist directions. What progressive movements there are are almost all marginal.

I hope I am wrong...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 29th, 2016 at 07:45:32 AM EST
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