In an illuminating piece in today’s EU Observer, the head of the European Parliament’s Socialist group demonstrates just how far the European Left will go to keep Greece in the euro zone. Scorning the idea that Greece needs to leave the euro to get its economy back on track, Hannes Swoboda says:
Even with the most basic economic knowledge, it is obvious that what Greece requires to get back on its feet is economic growth. Privatisations and increased efficiency as well as serious cutting of red tape will facilitate investments and projects resulting in job creation and therefore increase the number of taxable incomes, simultaneously providing opportunities for the jobless in Greece.
To say I was shocked to read this is an understatement. This is the most prominent socialist in the European Parliament (bar its president, Martin Schulz) speaking. Have we really reached the stage that European socialists are farther to the right on fiscal and regulatory matters than mainstream Democrats? Can you imagine Senator Boxer saying this about California, for instance?
My gut feeling is no, and this is actually just rhetoric to keep Greece in the euro zone so they can pretend that the great socialist EU project is still going. But if Herr Swoboda is being honest, this represents a huge victory for free-market economics. Personally, I can’t wait for Paul Krugman to tell Herr Swoboda that this is no time to go wobbly.