Monday 23 October 2017

Dominic Lawson: Can Europe survive its cavaliers?

Riot police on guard outside the Greek parliament in Athens during riots last February. Photo: Getty Images
Riot police on guard outside the Greek parliament in Athens during riots last February. Photo: Getty Images

ACCORDING to the historical satire 1066 And All That, the English Civil War was fought between "Right but Repulsive" Roundheads and "Wrong but Wromantic" Cavaliers.

A modern satire on the European financial crisis could well use the same terminology, with Germany as the right but repulsive advocates of roundhead "austerity", and those calling for still more cavalier "borrowing for growth" as wrong but wromantic.

With the election of the Socialist François Hollande to the French Presidency, and the collapse in support for the Greek parties which had agreed to cut the budget in accordance with the German-inspired euro stability pact, the past couple of days have been an undoubted boost for the Continent's Cavaliers. The trouble for them is that the only rational solution to the ills of the eurozone, if it is to remain a single currency area, demands full political union with fiscal transfers on a pan-European basis, in exactly the way that, for example, the taxpayers of England fund Wales and Northern Ireland.

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