Britain must make ready for the storm as clueless Europe tears itself apart
Once every half century or so, Europe “tears itself apart” in an orgy of self-destructive national tribalism. It happens just like clockwork.
By Jeremy Warner
16 May 2012
Usually it’s war that does the damage; there’s a certain irony in the fact that this time around it’s a project designed to prevent these periodic outbreaks of insanity by binding nations together in irredeemable economic and legal union – the euro.
In fact, the single currency is having the exact opposite effect, only bizarrely, Europeans still refuse to see it. Even the Greeks still cling, ever more desperately, to this totemic symbol of European solidarity.
Without the euro, they fear, the dream of European modernity will be over, and they’ll be banished back to the Balkan deprivation from whence they came. If they would only open their eyes, they’d see that they are already there. It’s hard to see how things could get any worse.
More than half of young Greeks are out of work, output is contracting at a rate which makes even the Great Depression seem positively buoyant, the stock market has lost more than 90pc of its value, and deposits are fleeing the country at the rate of €1bn a day. Greece has to all intents and purposes returned to being a pure cash economy. Against this catalogue of misery, Greece’s Balkan neighbours might actually seem to have something going for them.
Unfortunately, Greece is no more than an outrider in a wider crisis of economic imbalances and divergent competitiveness which has pitched creditor nation against debtor and surplus economy against its deficit counterpart.