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Old 12th Dec 2013, 09:18
  #3485 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In transit
Age: 66
Posts: 3,059
The EU-sceptic parties, those so-called racists and bigots, seem to be gathering a lot of support, despite having been dismissed as loonies on the fringes ............
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
9:55PM GMT 11 Dec 2013
"The time of an 'ever closer union' in every possible policy area is behind us," says the Dutch government. Its review of EU powers calls for swathes of policy, from social security to water management, to be left "more or less entirely to member states".

The Dutch are carefully shadowing the British, as well they might given that Geert Wilder's Freedom Party is leading the polls with calls to "control our borders, our economy, our currency". The cities of Rotterdam and The Hague have vowed openly to breach EU law on social security rights for Balkan migrants.

Over the past few months the eurosceptic floodgates have burst. French support for the EU Project has dropped from 60pc to 41pc since mid-2012, according to the Pew Foundation. This is in part the result of austerity overkill and double-dip recession, now threatening triple-dip, but also because the Franco-German partnership that has steered Europe for 60 years has finally broken down. It has become too unequal to defend fundamental French interests.

Prof Heisbourg, a pro-European, has since published La Fin du Rêve Européen (End of the European Dream) calling for the euro to be broken up to save the European Project. "The dream has become a nightmare. We must face the reality that the EU itself is now threatened by the euro," he said.
He proposes an orderly return to national currencies - "putting the euro to sleep" - arguing that everything changed when French and Dutch voters rejected the EU Constitution in 2005. It was clear from then on that there could be no popular support in any of the major EMU states for the sort of the fiscal union or European government required to make the euro work.
It looked for a while as if the euro crisis would force EU leaders to create a superstate machinery, though that would be to compound the folly. "You cannot create a federation to save a currency. Money has to be at the service of the political structure, not the other way around," he says.
............. This is playing into the hands of Marine Le Pen's Front National, now leading the polls with calls for a return to the franc and economic self-rule, and pulling votes from Socialist working class bastions. A Polling Vox survey found that 42pc of French voters are willing to consider backing the Front National. She has shaken off the stigma.
Jacques Attali, a Socialist luminary and former head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, lashed out at Berlin last week, claiming that contractionary EMU policies imposed by Germany were pushing France over the brink. He explicitly compared the state of French society with Germany in 1933 when the National Socialists took power.

The dam is bursting in Italy as well, a eurosceptic country these days, its people all too aware that they are trapped in a slump with an over-valued currency, youth unemployment of 41pc and a debt to GDP ratio that has jumped from 119pc of GDP to 133pc in three years despite harsh austerity and the biggest primary surplus in the developed world.
"It is a failed policy," said Romano Prodi, the former head of the European Commission and the man who launched the euro. He is now losing faith in the EU as a treaty organisation of sovereign peers. "Today there is only one country and only one in command: Germany. France, Italy, and Spain should together pound their fists on the table, but they delude themselves that they can go it alone," he said.

............. Some argue that Britain would be shut out of the single market, or forced into limbo for years. Quite why that should be so when Tunisia has tariff-free access to the EU is rarely explained. I notice that nobody raises the identical point about Scotland, which would be in the much same position at first since it has to leave the EU before reapplying as a new state. But of course, everybody knows that the EU would in fact arrange matters so as to ensure that Scotland never missed a beat. Clever lawyers in the Commission's legal services would find a way, as they always do.
Unless the events were grotesquely mishandled - always possible - France and Germany would bend over backwards to find a workable formula, keen to avert trade damage, and if possible to maintain the fiction that Britain that remains an EU member whatever the actual status.
Britain's hand in Europe has never been as strong as it is right now. This should not be abused. But it can be celebrated gracefully. We may be moving into a Europe of "multiple geometry" where integrationist elites no longer hold the whip hand, different groups of states cohere as they see fit, power flows both ways, and perhaps even where can take charge our own fisheries and farm. If that is so, it is surely an EU we can live with. I have never felt as cheerful before about our role in Europe.
IMF's Lagarde says euro crisis not solved, demands pre-emptive action from ECB - Telegraph
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