Herman Van Rompuy, the damp-rag/low-grade bank clerk president of the EU Council, has been speaking at the Stockholm School of Economics, an impressive venue for such an unimpressive figure. For the most part the “politician-poet” (his self-regarding self-description) merely recited old, tired lines, but there was a distinct touch of the bunker about this:
By giving up the D-mark, Germany reassured its neighbours, and in particular France, that its destiny lied in Europe. So the decision to create a common currency was just as much about war and peace in Europe, as about Robert Mundell’s “optimal currency area” theory!
Note how Van Rompuy elides “Germany” with its political class, but not with its people. Most Germans did not want to drop the D-Mark. Sadly, catastrophically, they were not given the chance to say no.
The politician-poet continued, and once again, the talk was of leaders not of peoples:
That is why so much was and is at stake during the sovereign debt crisis of the past two years. When Eurozone leaders declare they will do “whatever is required” to maintain the financial stability of the Eurozone (as we did several times at summits), it is very simple: we mean it. In the Eurozone we are together, “for better and for worse”.
Well, the shoddily constructed, irresponsible, and speculative single currency has certainly delivered the latter.