Sunday, 6 May 2012

President Václav Klaus on what Europe needs

My favourite European head of state - Czech President Václav Klaus - offers some excellent suggestions as to how to solve the European malaise:

As I said, the escaping from the current European crisis needs a fundamental systemic change, which means at least two things: 
-       the transformation of the European social and economic system, and
-       the restructuring of the European institutional or political arrangement (in another terminology, the form of European integration).
Let me tentatively suggest the main components of such a change:
1.     We have to get rid of the unproductive and paternalistic soziale Marktwirtschaft, “augmented” (which means further undermined) by the growing role of the green ideology.
2.     We should accept that the economic adjustment processes take time and that the impatient politicians and governments usually make things worse. The politicians should not try to mastermind the market, to micromanage the economy, to “produce” growth by government stimuli and incentives.
3.     We should start making comprehensive reductions of government expenditures and forget flirting with solutions based on tax increases. These reductions must dominantly deal with mandatory expenditures, because discretionary spending cuts are – as a long term solution – quantitatively more or less insignificant.
4.     We should stop the creeping, but constantly expanding green legislation. The Greens must be stopped from taking over much of our economy under the banner of such flawed ideas as the global warming doctrine.
5.     We should get rid of the centralization, harmonization, standardization of the European continent and after half a century of such measures start decentralizing, deregulating and desubsidizing our society and economy.
6.     We should make it possible for countries which are the victims of the European monetary union to leave it and to return to their own monetary arrangements.
7.     We should forget such plans as a European fiscal union, not to speak about ostentatively antidemocratic ambitions to politically unify Europe.
8.     We should return to democracy, which can exist only at the level of nation-states, not at the level of the whole continent. It requires returning from supranationalism to intergovernmentalism.
Read the entire speech here

 Germany - a country that I greatly admire - is regrettably the main obstacle towards the kind of development Klaus suggests.

For historic reasons, Germans - both political leaders and the population in general - have for decades now supported a utopian idea of Europe. As the influence of the Church - sadly - has declined in Germany, this almost religious "Europeanism" has filled the vacuum. During the last decade or so this developmeent  has been augmented by the growth of the "green" religion, which now seems to dominate all major political parties in Germany.

This new secular religion will of course in the end bring nothing but failure. Only the ingenuity of the German entrepreneurs and workers has - so far - prevented an economic and social decline. But this is only the calm before the storm.

When the Chinese bubble bursts, and the so far extremely succesful German export industry grinds to a halt, the greatest failures of the Merkel government - the senseless support for the failed euro currency and  the even more senseless "Energiewende" (energy transition policy) - will become evident to German voters.

Sadly, there are not many politicians and parties, which are ready to take over when the storm begins to blow in Germany. Hopefully some good people in the traditionally sensible CSU (the CDU´s Bavarian sister party) will then show real leadership and bring Germany back to a sound path to the future, in line with what President Klaus has suggested.

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