Det latinske opprør

Hans Rustad

Spa­nia er bedt om å redu­sere under­skud­det på stats­bud­sjet­tet fra 8 til 4,4 pro­sent. Det betyr nye ned­skjæ­rin­ger i et land der arbeids­le­dig­he­ten er på 20 prosent.

Hvor lenge vil lati­nerne finne seg i at nord kjø­rer deres økono­mier i grøfta? Arbeids­le­dig­he­ten i Tysk­land er 5.5 %.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard kal­ler poli­ti­kerne i nord “fis­kale kal­vi­nis­ter”. Det er kom­met inn en ny kon­ser­va­tiv regje­ring i Spa­nia. Vil spa­nierne finne seg i å bli dik­tert fra Ber­lin og Brussel?

Though he swept into office as an apostle of ortho­doxy, Mari­ano Rajoy has since del­ved into Madrid’s gha­stly accounts and con­clu­ded that it would be “suici­dal” to try to slash the bud­get defi­cit from 8pc of GDP to 4.4pc of GDP this year, as deman­ded by Europe’s fis­cal Cal­vi­nists.
Such a policy would require a furt­her €40bn or €50bn of cuts and acce­le­rate the dow­n­ward spi­ral alre­ady under­way, beyond the 1.7pc con­trac­tion expec­ted this year by the Inter­na­tio­nal Mone­tary Fund.
The unemp­loy­ment rate would rise to well over 25pc with six mil­lion out of work by the end of the year, equi­va­lent to 30pc under the old defi­nition used in the last jobless cri­sis in the early 1990s.
A study by BBVA of 173 cases of fis­cal sque­ezes in OECD countries over the last thirty years con­clu­ded that demands on Spain are almost unpre­ce­den­ted. They found only four such cases, and three were off­set by deva­lua­tions. The fourth was Ire­land in 2009. The coun­try crashed into slump, cul­mi­na­ting in a 54pc fall in Dub­lin house prices.

Noe av til­li­ten mel­lom latinske land og nord er ved å gå fløy­ten. Man tror ikke len­ger på de fine ordene.

Josep Bor­rell, ex-president of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and the voice of Spain’s pro-European estab­lish­ment, said such debt-deflation risks pushing the ban­king sys­tem over the edge. “To cut the defi­cit almost four points in one year would be a true depres­sio­nary shock for an ana­emic eco­nomy, made worse by the require­ment for banks to mark their real estate los­ses to mar­ket prices.”

We have reached the point where ‘taxes kill taxa­tion’. The the­rapy is tur­ning fatal and is star­ting to take on a highly poli­ti­cal tone. Sixty years after the end of the war, Ger­many is again coming to be seen as an over­bea­ring enemy, and an atmosphere of hos­ti­lity is buil­ding up in a Con­ti­nent divi­ded between a rich and flou­rish­ing North and a South in dan­ger of being redu­ced to a pro­tec­to­rate. If we carry on like this we are going to destroy the Euro­pean pro­ject,” he said.

Fat­tig­dom uten like

A report last week by the Cari­tas wing of the Cat­h­o­lic Church warned that “there are more poor people than last year, and they are poorer. After four years of hardship, poverty is more wide­spread, more intense, and more chro­nic” than at any time in recent memory, with a gap between rich and poor that “threa­tens to pola­rize society”. The poverty rate has risen to 21.8pc (38pc in Extrema­dura), the third worst in the EU after Roma­nia and Lat­via.
While the Gre­eks may or may not put up with ever-escalating EU demands -- most recently talk of para­chu­ting 160 Ger­man tax col­lectors into the coun­try -- any such treat­ment of Spain would set off the sort of ‘lev­an­ta­mi­ento’ faced by Buona­parte in 1808, and the scale of damage to the Euro­pean ban­king sys­tem would be cata­strop­hic even for Germany.

Euro­so­nen har fun­gert som en dump­huske: lave ren­ter for å sti­mu­lere tysk økonomi gjorde at de latinske land ble over­svøm­met av bil­lige lån, og ren­ten i Spa­nia har vært negativ.

Når det samme sterke Tysk­land nek­ter å føre en kontra-syklisk poli­tikk er det å for­råde soli­da­ri­te­ten innen EU. Det kan straffe seg.

Ulti­mately, poli­tics will decide the mat­ter, and Mr Rajoy is not alone in Europe. He has a champion in Italy’s Mario Monti, de facto lea­der of the Latin bloc and increas­ingly the man in whom the US, Japan, the IMF, and the rest of the world, are inves­ting their hopes. As Mr Bor­rell put it, he is the only Euro­pean sta­tes­men with enough cre­di­bi­lity to con­front Angela Mer­kel “face to face”.

Mr Monti’s joint let­ter with twelve EU sta­tes last week cal­ling for an end to self-defeating con­trac­tion marks a key moment in this cri­sis. If Fran­cois Hol­lande is elected French pre­si­dent in May, the shift in Europe’s balance of power will be com­p­lete. Ger­many will lose its stifling grip on EU policy machinery. The EMU bloc will start to tilt towards refla­tion at long last.
Whether it can come soon enough to avert a social explo­sion across Europe’s arc of depres­sion remains to be seen. Nor can such sti­mu­lus over­come the fun­da­men­tal flaws of EMU since Ger­many is at an entirely place in the deform struc­ture, with unemp­loy­ment at 20-year lows of 5.5pc.

What is nee­ded to save the South must endan­ger the North. Ger­many would over­heat, pushing its infla­tion to 4pc or 5pc until Bild Zei­tung erupts in Teu­to­nic fury. It is impos­sible to recon­cile the con­flic­ting impe­ra­ti­ves.
My guess is that Germany’s refu­sal to counte­nance any form of EU sub­si­dies, debt-pooling, or fis­cal union -- other than poli­cing the bud­gets of cap­tive sta­tes -- has defi­ni­tively bro­ken the EMU spell. Latin nations by increas­ingly regard talk euro of soli­darity as hum­bug. It has been a nasty shock. The era of natio­nal eco­no­mic rear­ma­ment in Europe has begun.

Det er noe uhyg­ge­lig over kri­sen som utfol­der seg i Europa.

Spa­nish revolt brews as natio­nal eco­no­mic rear­ma­ment begins in Europe
Spain’s new prime minis­ter has looked into the abyss and recoiled.

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