Things are beginning to happen in the EU. The Greek crisis has been having Europe-wide repercussions. In today’s Dagens Nyheter the Finance Minister, Magdalena Andersson, argued that Sweden should not become a second-class member of the EU. In typical Social Democratic manner, you have to read between the lines to get a sense of her argument.
Another blog but with an anonymous author is this one: Komigenuva.wordpress.com, which gets to the point in a way no-one else has done. It explains that the German Chancellor indirectly confiscates funds from our own Swedish National budget by adopting a written procedure at the level of State Secretary, so bypassing all democratic channels (and Sweden is not in the eurozone!). It will only be felt when the next economic busts hits! So it is a paper decision that awaits the coming economic crash: https://komigenuva.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/merkel-konfiskerar-medel-ur-var-statskassa-genom-skriftlig-procedur-pa-statssekreterarniva/
komigenuva gives links in English that are well worth reading by anyone with an interest in how Germany dominates Europe. Start with the two posts from Zero Hedge, followed by the Guardian article on the Greek Debt, and finally the Bruegel Blog piece. See also the blog post by John Ward published last night:
Below is a re-blogged post from fortruss, which presents a Polish view. The title says it all!
“Germany’s policies pose a danger to Europe for the first time since 1945”–A View From Poland
“Poland needs a new discussion about the euro, because while until recently the main divide was between the euro-enthusiasts and the euro-skeptics, after what happened in Greece it’s difficult to be an EU supporter in Poland,” said Rafal Wos. “People no longer believe that Europe is a project in which rich states tell the poor states, ‘Hey, come join us, we’ll make room for you, it’s a political project. We might be bigger but we won’t crush you. Don’t be afraid of us.’ People also no longer believe that Europe is run by the technocrats who know what they are doing, or that we are moving in the right direction.”
Joanna Solska criticized Greece, however. She said that Greece had both the opportunity and the money to make its economy more competitive, but it squandered that opportunity. “I’m saying this because we are copying Greece’s errors: we are taking EU money, the Citizens’ Platform government is constantly worrying that Law and Justice will accuse it of not using all the available resources. Therefore we are only concerned about getting these funds and spending them as a means of increasing our GDP. We are forgetting that EU funding will end one day, so we need to use it in a way that would enable us to maintain a higher standard of living without EU’s money.”
Sierakowski disagreed with Wos. He did not detect any euro-enthusiasm in Poland, only euroskepticism and euro-realism. “I remember the 2003 EU Constitution project, when Poland was one of the countries which blocked EU’s reform. We caused the Brussels negotiations to fail (under the memorable slogan ‘Nice or Death’). If the EU today had a constitution, it would have been able to deal with the crisis far more effectively,” Sierakowski said.
Both Sierakowski and Zakowski acknowledged that Germany’s politics pose a danger to Europe for the first time since 1945. “I have the impression that Germany adopted the wrong strategy not only on the merits, but also from the symbolic point of view. For the first time in my life I’ve felt that Germany could be dangerous. They behaved with typical German arrogance,” Zakowski summed. up.
J.Hawk’s Comment: Commenters have been known to accuse me of optimism on the pages of this blog–articles like that, which provide the view from the other side of the hill, so to speak, are a big part of the reason for it. Reading only Russian blogs can have the effect of making the world appear more menacing and dangerous than it really is, also more united against Russia that it really is. A veritable siege mentality.
But in reality we seem to be on the brink of major political changes. For starters, it is a good thing that Poles are starting to wake up to the danger, the danger posed not by Russia but by the EU and its most powerful member state. Polityka happens to be Poland’s most widely read, and therefore opinion-shaping, political newsweekly (I’ve been reading it since the ’70s…), and in general it pursues a strongly pronounced pro-European, pro-Western line. So to suddenly see some of its most prominent writers start talking about EU and especially Germany in those terms suggests there is a shift not just among the public but among the opinion leaders. But they are right to be concerned. Because it is entirely possible that, deprived of the opportunity to effect an economic expansion into Ukraine, Germany will turn on EU’s weaker members instead. It may even be that Poland’s Ukraine policy was motivated by the desire to placate Germany whose economic well-being requires captive markets. Like those of the weaker eurozone members.