Wow! I actually agree with Anne Applebaum on something. I tend to see her as a Neoconservative, at least when it comes to foreign policy and national security. But she’s damn right in most if not her entire piece about Greece and Europe.
The problem with the Euro, the European currency, is that you have a large developed country like Germany of eighty-plus million people, that’s economy looks more like America and Canada, than it does Sweden. Germany, is not a socialist state, they can’t really afford to be one. They invest heavily and education, energy and infrastructure. They promote free trade and private economic development in their country. They require people who can, to work and take care of their health care through their private health care system. And as a result, they are now the power in Europe. Economic, but have real political and defense as well and are the fourth largest economy in the world. With living standards, that are equal, or better than America’s.
But then you have a small semi-developed country like Greece. Where the average Greek, makes about 1/3 of the average German, or American. That is dependent on other countries for its defense, energy and economy. They’re drowning in debt right now. That has one of the largest socialist state’s in the free world. As far as how much their national government spends for its people. Socialists, don’t believe there’s a limit to what government can do for their people. Or how much government can spend for their people. They don’t believe debts and deficits matter and even now as Greece is drowning in their own debt, they still don’t believe that they should have to tighten their belts and cut back on their services. And expect others like Germany, that is very successful economically, to bail them out.
When the Euro was created in Europe in the late 1990s, the idea was that instead of having 25-30 small to medium-sized markets in Europe, you would create one huge market of three-hundred plus million people. That the whole world would want to invest in. On paper, that sounds like a very good idea. And they had strict requirements on debt and deficits. That each member couldn’t let those things reach like four-percent of their economy. And had to manage their financial affairs and not run up high debt and deficits. But again, Greece is one of the members of the Euro and is a socialist unitarian state. That doesn’t believe debt and deficits matter and that there’s no limit to what the state can do for their people. And that they can run up debts and deficits, because their socialism will make their economy stronger. Or someone, like Germany, will bail them out. And Greece, is paying a heavy price for their socialism right now.
A united currency amongst several different countries, doesn’t work very well, unless you have strong rules and rule enforcement and similar economies and economic systems. Which is one of the reasons why Sweden isn’t part of the Euro, because they have a similar economic system as Greece, but are energy independent and can afford their socialism. The idea of having a single market in Europe, makes sense, but the best way to do that is to have a single state, a federal state. With one economy and economic system. With a federal authority to manage the currency and economy. Manage the debt and deficit, negotiate trade deals with other countries, encourage economic investment in the country. From domestic and foreign business’s. As well as defend and secure the country.
A federalist, not federal, but a Federalist Europe, a united European country, that would go from lets say Portugal in the Southwest, to Italy in the Southeast and Belgium in the Northwest and Poland in the Northeast, would benefit all of these Euro States in several ways. You would be talking about the first, or second largest developed economy and country in the world. That could replace NATO with a united European defense, that would be more than capable of defending itself and become a great strong ally of the United States and the United Kingdom and serve as a deterrent to the Russian Federation. With one president, one administration, one Assembly, or Parliament and federal court system all under one federal government. But where the Euro States, would have autonomy over their state and domestic affairs. With the federal government being in charge of interstate and national affairs.
Not saying a Federal State of Europe will ever happen and certainly not happen soon. But for a Euro, or Eurozone to work as well as it possibly can, you need the member states to have either similar economies and living standards, or agree not to let the government spending get out of control. You can’t afford to have a Greece, or a Portugal, or big states like France and Italy, to drown themselves in debt and watch their economies sink and drive down the worth of the Euro. Which makes thinks tough for the rest of the states in the Union. Because they lose customers and investment opportunities when one, or several of their trading partners sinks in debt and depression.