A short item, which takes the breath way, on how the problems of countries like Greece has encouraged the German government to insist that unless these countries are as economically “fit” as Germany is or claims to be, they cannot participate in EU decisions.
Well, I guess such a comment makes it explicit that as far as Germany is concerned, the strong states rule, and the weaker ones should shut up and do as they are told. Sometimes, it really amazes me why anyone ever doubts that this is the consequence of the single currency project. The Greeks, and other such countries, have just had a lot of illusions broken up into atoms.
Update: well, I guess I should thank Glenn Reynolds for the “instalanche” of comments, some of which, I assume, are from the US. Let me consider a few of the points made. First of all, I am not – which seems to be the view of some – defending the Greek state, and by implication, some of their voters. To the Germans, or indeed other euro zone countries, it must indeed be an outrage that a country expects to be able to continue enjoying the luxuries of early retirement, generous welfare and short-work week. If the Germans are irritated about this, they are entitled to be. But you see, this is what happens in a currency union where one bit of it is subsidising another bit. In the US, where the poorer parts get subsidies from the richer or at least not bankrupt bits, the poorer bits are not then told, by their neighbours, to shut up. I am not aware, for example, of a rich state of the US demanding that poorer parts be banned from sending Congressmen or Senators to DC (if you have examples, please let me know). The Germans knew, when they choose to sacrifice a perfectly solid currency – the Deutschemark – in exchange for the euro, that there were risks. Some German politicians may have naively assumed that the less prosperous bits would raise their game, but given the cussedness of human nature, that was not a sure-fire bet. As Michael Jennings points out in the comment thread, Germany itself had the experience of reunification and the problems of integrating the post-communist East into the capitalist West. But at least it had a common sort of political identity. But it is a much more difficult thing for a German politician to demand that a member of a currency union should not be allowed to participate in discussions relating to that currency.
I don’t feel a lot of sympathy for the Greek government, but I don’t feel much sympathy for the Germans, either. They wanted this currency union, and arguably, imposed an unsustainable interest rate straitjacket onto the continent. Much of their political and media elite has invested a huge amount of emotional and political capital into this. They made their bed, now they must lie on it.