From today’s Open Europe news summary:
Swidlicki: Clegg/Farage debate risks establishing false ‘all-or-nothing’ choice and ignoring public appetite for EU reform Writing on Liberal Democrat Voice ahead of the first EU debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage tonight, Open Europe’s Pawel Swidlicki argues that a “binary, ‘all-or-nothing’ debate over Europe is fundamentally flawed as it does not speak to where the majority of the British public are at. Polls have consistently shown that when respondents are offered options beyond staying in on the current terms or leaving altogether, the option of staying in a reformed/slimmed down EU proves the most popular across the political spectrum.” In his Independent column, Nigel Farage argues that “at the heart of this debate is the question of identity: are we ‘European’ or ‘British’?” LDV: Swidlicki Mirror: Clegg Independent: Farage Independent Times: Leader
With all due respect to Mr. Swidlicki, the EU cannot be reformed, because it does not answer to the rule of law. It ignores treaties, which become law when ratified, whenever it feels that circumstances demand. The illegal (by treaty) actions of the ECB are a case in point. According to the Maastricht Treaty the ECB is not allowed to finance sovereign debt, yet that is exactly what it does. So why do so many believe that carefully negotiated reforms will not be abridged in the future, when there have been absolutely no consequences to such abridgements in the past.
Eventually even the Germans and the Finns succumb to the siren call of expediency. A case in point can be found in this same issue of Open Europe:
Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann told news agency MNI yesterday that large-scale ECB asset purchases – known as Quantitative Easing – to tackle low inflation in the eurozone were not “generally out of the question”…Finland’s Central Bank Governor Erkki Liikanen cited a negative deposit rate as another possible tool the ECB could use in future. Open Europe blog FT WSJ Irish Times
Remember Barron’s maxim: “An organization that CAN print money WILL print money.” The political pressures to do so are overwhelming, especially in organizations such as the EU and the ECB that suffer from a “tragedy of the commons” construction.