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Fiscal folly

• Recently, many political commentators repeated the mantra that only greater fiscal integration could save the euro and that without the euro the whole European project would collapse -- and if the whole European project collapsed, there might be a war in Europe.

I think quite the opposite is true -- the European integration begins to resemble the Soviet model insofar as the fact that not the collapse of the eurozone might endanger Europe's peace, but its excessive centralisation. German leadership might lead to growing resentments in peripheral countries.

Under the Soviet occupation, Poles, Czechs and Hungarians thought that their misery was caused by goods being exported to the Soviet Union for peanuts and the Russians thought that they were poor because they had to subsidise countries like Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. I'm sure that the results would be similar in the EU if Europe went for tighter fiscal integration.

Moreover, I can identify two further threats to centralised integration led by Germany (even though I am an avid fan of German culture -- writers like Schopenhauer or composers like Wagner).

If artificially imposed technocrats like Mario Monti fail, who will be elected next? We should never forget that Hitler came to power by democratic elections.

Also, if Germany intends to force compliance with strict budget rules, they will have to implement German supervision to make sure that fiddling statistics won't happen again -- and this will surely make them very unpopular in other countries.

The longer we live in fantasy land, the more we will have to pay when the eurozone breaks up. To paraphrase Mr Schopenhauer: to desire euro's immortality is to desire the eternal perpetuation of a great mistake.

Grzegorz Kolodziej
Bray, Co Wicklow

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