Spanish (Socialist) Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has now taken the initiative to call for more solidarity inside the EU to confront the coronavirus crisis
Τhe Maastricht Treaty is organizing a perfect “Kingdom of Finance” in Europe, a neoliberal entity forbidding solidarity, or associating it with austerity, terms which, in the context of a crisis, may lead to the destruction of the economy and the social welfare state and the pillage of the smaller and weaker EU members by the corporations of the stronger and richer, and Germany in particular, as it happened in Greece
We are not sure that corona-bonds represent the best solution for the financing of an anti-crisis Eurozone program, because they still keep the umbilical cord between the EU and the Empire of Finance, the world of financial capital. Still they represent a first, very small and still very important step in the direction of transforming the EU from a large neoliberal “free market”, tailored to the needs of global financial capital, multinational corporations and Germany, into something beginning to look like a real European Union.
According to the Spanish PM, Europe must now build a war economy and promote European resistance, reconstruction and recovery. It must do so as soon as possible with public debt support measures taken by many states, including Spain, and it must continue to do so after the end of the state of emergency with a “new Marshall Plan.” At the same time, Sanchez recalls the historic “mistake” made by the EU in its response to the 2008 crisis through austerity. A mistake which is reflected, very clearly, to both the dire situation of the health systems across half of Europe and to the socio-economic situation in Greece.
For their part, a number of Italian politicians point out in an open letter to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that if the European Union does not prove that it exists (in the coronavirus crisis), then it will cease to exist! The Italians are attacking the Netherlands, but it is obvious that they are saying all that to The Hague to be heard by Berlin.
Usually silent, Jacques Delors hastened a few days ago to ring the alarm bell, talking about the deadly danger to which the EU lacks the solidarity to respond.
Photo by Jonatan Svensson Glad under Wikicommons Licence CC BY-SA 2.0
Both the neoliberal globalist elites and the neoconservative – the nationalist wing of the Western-Israeli establishment, the “war of civilizations” (Pompeo, Netanyahu, Thiel etc.) party, partisans of the “America First” doctrine, etc., i.e. the two “parties” of modern capitalism, in the midst of the present crisis are showing their abominable face, characteristic of the threat they pose, not only to civilization, but also to the very survival of humanity.
Everybody in the West, and first of all the United States, is stealing masks and other medical equipment from other countries. When Italy asked for help, no EU state offered. The only help it received was from Russia, China and Cuba. As for the Pompeo-Netanyahu-Trump club, it imposed new sanctions on Iran, it is considering military action against Teheran, it is pressing countries in need of Cuban medical help not to ask or accept it is using the epidemic against Palestinians. Meanwhile, they are threatening the World Health Organization with funding cuts. They are threatening Venezuela with military intervention and have launched a new “Cold War” against China. They did all that in the midst of a pandemic which is threatening health and prosperity everywhere!
It should be noted that the letter from the Italian politicians underlines that the Netherlands is blocking emergency aid to EU members, although it has been “using its tax system for years to withdraw tax revenue from major European countries”. The authors also note that German reconstruction after World War II was possible due to the enormous leniency shown to Germany in terms of debt, but also its economic policy as a whole.
Under the shadow of the Debt
At the same time, the issue of the bubble of an enormous accumulated global Debt, in particular of the Debt of Global South, is now being raised by all sides, both inside and outside Europe. Debt is becoming the biggest economic issue of our times, just as the social issue dominated the 19th century.
At present, however, Merkel, Schäuble and Altmaier remain adamant in defending their views, in spite of the fact that for Italy or Spain to accept them is equivalent to committing suicide. They probably do not realize the seriousness of the risk of a final dissolution of the EU and the consequences of such a dissolution to Germany itself. The result is that every passing day, poison is added to intra-European relations that, from one point onwards, will not allow for a return.
Bofinger and modern monetary theory
Of course, not all Germans are on this wavelength. Peter Bofinger, a former member of the German government’s Advisory Committee of Economic Experts, said in an article published in Social Europe
that the time had come for “Modern Monetary Theory”. The United States and Europe must compensate for the losses of companies, employees and the self-employed with direct financial transfers, without fiscal constraints, something both the ECB and the US FED confirmed it is possible in mid-March, Boffinger wrote, adding that there is no risk of inflation, given the unprecedented decline in consumer demand. There are problems, the German economist points out, only in those countries that cannot borrow enough in their currency, especially in the highly indebted eurozone countries such as Italy, and therefore, he argues, there should be Eurobonds for joint financing, where the funds will not be given to the Member States in the form of loans, but in the form of remittances. The joint credit line created by the EEC in 1975 could be used to jointly lend to Europe to finance balance of payments problems due to the oil crisis.
Need to formulate a positive program
A conflict of decisive importance has begun for the future of Europe, a conflict which will have huge repercussions. In its present form, the EU does not seem capable of surviving for long and should not survive. On the other hand, a chaotic breakthrough of the EU would not be appropriate, as it would most likely lead to a galaxy of small and medium-sized states, virtually helpless confronted to the pressure of the “Empire of Finance”, of the global financial capital (of a dozen or so financial institutions and a similar number of multinationals) and of the USA. Those states will be most likely forced to engage in a competition by social and ecological dumping in order to attract a better share of a shrinking international demand. The dissolution of the EU is also a project of the Neocon – Zionist axis, which does not want the existence of huge entities in the world. It is enough to read the enthusiastic articles about the European difficulties published in the site of the extremist neocon Gatestone Institute to understand their strategy.
That is why it is urgent to formulate an international alternative plan B for Europe, to try to find a way between the German neoliberal Europe and the Chaos, by all the forces and countries that are ready and mature to do so if the northern core around Germany insists on its own policy. Maybe, if Berlin sees that there is a serious alternative, it may soften its chance. Until now, German intransigence has been fueled by the awareness that the victims of German policies, in particular Greece (2010, 2015) and Cyprus (2013), were unwilling and/or unprepared to resist to the very end.
In 2011, faced with the attack of the “Markets” and Finance, which managed to turn their own debts into sovereign debts and their own crisis into an EU crisis, we formulated a general outline of what could be an alternative proposal for another Europe, together with Mikis Theodorakis and Alexis Tsipras. This text
(appeal common to save the peoples of Europe Defend Democracy Press) did include a number of directions for a different Europe, including the idea of a new type of a “New Deal”, of a logical and just protection of European economy, of the emergence of Europe as a “multipolar” entity.
Public Domain Pictures
This appeal was signed by a number of European (mostly but not exclusively leftist) personalities and met quite a success across the continent at the time. This could form the basis of a serious international political struggle. Unfortunately, neither the leadership of SYRIZA nor their comrades in the European self-proclaimed “radical left” took the text they signed very seriously, as they were captive to an opportunistic, selfish and short-term view of politics. Thus we came to the next phase of the European crisis without a European political subject and a program to address the crisis, struggling between the proponents of a chaotic dissolution and an alliance of Germany and Goldman Sachs.
It’s never too late though. In 1915 a handful of Socialists opposing WWI convened in Zimmerwald, Switzerland. The vast majority of Socialists at that time were supporting their governments and the War. Today, the vast majority of political forces of the media and the intellectual class in Europe are controlled by international Finance. This is what makes even more imperative and necessary now, for all the forces not directly and fully controlled by the Empire of Financial Capital to convene a kind of new, different “Zimmerwald conference”, in order to lay the groundwork for a different European order, for a Europe controlled by its peoples and nations, not by international Finance. This is a question of life and death for all European peoples and nations.