An earthquake has arrived in Europe. The seismic tremors are the forthcoming elections and the referenda. We’re heading for a confrontation between politics and finance. The national parliaments on one side and the ECB and the IMF on the other. On 6 May they are voting in Greece and the new Government could reject the agreements made with the EU to avoid default. In France, Hollande is the favourite. His position is to oppose cuts to social spending in accordance with European directives. Regarding the stability pact he declared “We must add a part on growth or we will not ratify it.” Marine Le Pen got 20% with a europhobic programme and that consensus cannot but have influence on the new tenant of the Elysée Palace. On 31 May there’s a referendum in Ireland about the new budget rules that Germany wanted, the "fiscal compact" that was approved in Italy without any consultation with the people, in the best traditions of a particratic State and not a democratic one.
Even where there are no elections in the near future, deep faults are opening up. In Holland, the Rutte Government has resigned because of predicted cuts to public spending. In fact without “austerity“ they would lose their triple A ... In Holland they are voting on 12 September. Geert Wilders’s anti-euro PVV could lose members. Where’s there’s been the application of policies of taxes and blood in the name of the euro, the results have been at a negative pace. There’s been a constant worsening. The public debt has increased, as in Italy, or the country has literally gone bust as in Greece where a silent default has taken place. It’s happened, but no one must say so (*). Today Standard & Poor’s downgraded Spain from A to BBB+. Basically that increases the interest due to those who buy Spanish bonds. The interest payments will be covered by cutting social expenditure. Everyone is poorer, but for what? To become butcher’s meat like the bulls in the bull ring?
José Ignacio Torreblanca, a professor at UNED University, yesterday wrote a long article in the Financial Times called "Time to say ‘basta’ to the nonsense of austerity". He writes "Next week it will be two years since José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s socialist government adopted the first austerity measures. These measures meant the electoral suicide of the Spanish Socialist party. Now the Conservatives find themselves in a similar situation: little more than 100 days after gaining power they have alienated citizens by pushing austerity well beyond their electoral mandate, only to find themselves as heavily penalised by the financial markets as Mr Zapatero was. What is outrageous is that, while Spaniards face recession and soaring unemployment, Jens Weidmann, the Bundesbank president and European Central Bank council member, sits back and says that 6 per cent interest rates for Spanish sovereign debt “are not the end of the world”. Equally worrying is that the European Commission happily endorses Spain’s severe cuts in education and research spending, deliberately ignoring the fact that these are incompatible with both the sustainable growth model ... Time to say: basta!”
What’s at stake is not just the Euro, but the outdated model of development and the destruction of social States. They will never give up. Neither will we. See you in Parliament!
(*) As Beppe Scienza will explain to us in detail in Passaparola on Monday 30 April
PS: Follow the 2012 electoral tour. Participate using the hash tag #m5sTour on Twitter and on Youtube or using the tag "MoVimento Cinque Stelle” on your photos and Facebook posts.
Today, 27 April, I’ll be in via Riva del Grappa 87 in Cittadella at 7:00pm, and at 8:00 pm in via dei Fanti (the old market area) in Rosà, and finally at 9:30 pm in parco Villa Fabris in Thiene.
Posted by Beppe Grillo at 05:36 PM in Economics
(1) | Comments in Italian (translated)
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