Sunday 25 February 2018

Workers will pay price for eurozone's debt mountain

The obsession with the strictly financial is coming into conflict with broader economic good, writes Charles Moore

'The moment of truth is approaching," said British Prime Minister David Cameron last Thursday. But what is the truth?

In the view of those who run Europe, the truth is that its single currency must be saved. In very ancient Greece, Homer tells us, the giants tried to scale heaven by piling Mount Ossa on top of Mount Olympus, and then adding "wooded Pelion", another mountain in those parts, on top of that. They failed, of course, and "piling Pelion on Ossa" became a by-word for reinforcing failure.

In very modern Greece last week, a new prime minister was chosen. Lucas Papademos is not an elected politician. He is the former governor of the Bank of Greece, and it was part of his job a decade ago to persuade the European Union that his country had met the budget deficit criteria which would permit entry to the euro. It hadn't, but he said it had. Greece joined. Now, partly because of this original fiction, Greece is bust. Yet the answer, strongly approved by the euro-giants, who were disgusted by the earlier suggestion of a referendum, is to pile Papademos on Papandreou.

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