Europe is turning back to national identity – and it’s exhilarating – Simon Jenkins
The European debt crisis is a reformation moment – the EU has overreached its power and now faces a crisis of legitimacy
Perhaps I was wrong, after all. I thought Europe’s governments would spend any amount of money and impose any amount of austerity to rescue any number of banks from their recklessness and folly. All banks were too big to fail. No debt was too big to bail. Europe was in the grip of a classic banker’s ramp.
Yet Greece’s bluffing of the high priests of the eurozone may, after all, be called. The unthinkable may be unavoidable. The priests are suddenly talking of “when, not if,” Greece defaults. Greeks themselves seem to regard devaluation as a less painful discipline than state-imposed austerity, and are probably right. Their partial default and de facto departure from the euro would be a truly seismic moment, requiring the instant restructuring of debts and possibly currencies across the periphery of the eurozone, covering Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy. It would be drastic, but since it has been predicted ever since Maastricht in 1992, it can hardly be regarded as unimaginable. […]
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