Mulle meeldib see mees. Vasakpoolne, aga realist. Ei aja udu stiilis: Euroopa vajab reforme ja natsionalism ei ole vastus.
…D.K. What do you believe is the future of European state-nations in the light of Greek and southern Europe experience? What has to do a nation if it wants to “escape” the “euro-prison”, while other nations are not ready or willing, facing the probability of “markets” retaliation?
S.F. The events of last July in Greece made it clear to everybody that European states which joined the common currency have already lost their sovereignty, and their voters’ democratic choices are irrelevant. The euro has become a cage, a prison, as you say. It enhanced asymmetries among countries, among debtors and creditors. Unaccountable bodies, such as the European Central Bank, are able to overturn democratic choices and have the last word on national policies. This is not only incompatible with any progressive policy, it is at variance with democracy itself. A radical change, a change of the European treaties would be necessary to restore democracy, to restore a space for social policies, to stop the degradation of labour and the dismantling of what remains of our welfare states. Unfortunately, I have become very pessimistic about the possibility to achieve such a change cooperatively within the euro.
D.K. You seem to exclude any possibility of deep, radical reform of euro before going for the “dissolution of euro” scenario? But nobody has ever seriously tried to push for such a reform.
S.F. I try to be realistic. Against the possibility of a change are the national interests of creditor countries, first of all Germany, supported by part of the élites in peripheral countries, who think this is an opportunity for a neoliberal restructuring of our societies. The German government has made it clear in many occasions that they will never accept anything like a transfer union, which means that they will never accept any mutualization of debt or any move to make the European Central Bank a real central bank, i.e. a lender of last resort. The current recipes on the table involve more structural reforms, i.e. neoliberal reforms of the labour market, and deeper financial integration, but do not contemplate anything close to the radical reform we have in mind. Should we move to some kind of political union, such union would reflect the current balance of power, it would institutionalize the current policy orientation. It would be institutionalized austerity.
I’m not saying a leftist government should unilaterally leave the euro. But I think that such a government should seriously consider this possibility for two reasons: first, nothing meaningful has been done to prevent a new crisis from hitting the eurozone again, and in that case a breakup of the euro is a likely outcome, no matter we want it or not; second, having a “plan B” at hand means that our bargaining position is much stronger if we want to defy the European austerity policies and in case we find ourself in a position similar to Greece in July…..