The Corner

Vegetarian Rib-Eye (2)

The Economist’s Buttonwood reports on a conference the magazine organized on Europe.

This extract is worth noting:

Perhaps the most interesting session came at the end, when various European economists debated the way the EU would develop. There was much talk of fiscal union, banking union and so on. But too little attention was paid to whether voters want any of this — in the creditor nations or the debtor nations. It looks remarkably as if the EU elite will once more push through a solution in the hope that voters will approve of it later — rather like the adoption of the euro itself. Mr Mayer talked of the shadow state that already exists with the unelected ECB taking on enormous powers to affect the lives of Europeans and system such as the two pack coming into force which will involve central control of budgets, as the European commission briefing explains:

“As part of a common budgetary timeline, euro-area Member States shall submit their draft budgetary plan for the following year to the Commission and the Eurogroup before 15 October, along with the independent macro-economic forecast on which they are based. If the Commission assesses that the draft budgetary plan shows serious non-compliance with the SGP (Stability and Growth Pact), the Commission can require a revised draft budgetary plan. Otherwise it may address an opinion to the Member States concerned, which would also be discussed by the Eurogroup.”

In short, with monetary policy out of the hands of voters (and nation states), fiscal policy will follow. So what will citizens have to vote about? Their right to pass laws is also circumscribed by European treaties. All this is rather disturbing to believers in democracy…

Indeed it is, but I don’t think that the EU’s oligarchs — or their political and intellectual cheerleaders — will worry too much about that.

The writer concludes:

One has to wonder whether the EU is considering the trade-off between democracy and administrative (and economic) efficiency. As I quipped at the end of the day, there has been one successful European superstate — the Roman Empire — and it wasn’t a democracy.

And no European superstate ever can be.

By definition.

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