08.17.2011 1

Why is Europe obsessed with a central government?

By Robert Romano – As the situation in Europe continues to unravel, with each concurrent intervention by central planners unable to stem the sovereign debt crisis, policymakers appear to be at a loss of what to do next — besides engage in yet more interventions.

Not long after Europe had agreed on yet another bailout for creditors of the failing socialist state of Greece was the European Central Bank back at it.  Next, they intervened in Spanish and Italian bonds — trying to hold back the floodgates that would lead to dissolution of the euro as a dominant world currency.

To prevent such an outcome, leaders appear ready to pull out all of the stops — even if it threatens liberty and leads the end of sovereignty.

“We want to state our absolute will to defend the euro,” said French President Nicolas Sarkozy after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris.  Sarkozy called for a “true European economic government”.  Uh oh.

Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson recently outlined what that means for the fate of liberty across the pond: “Entire nations of Europe are being pillaged to cover the bad bets of the banks.  And the ultimate sacrifice demanded is their national integrity, their national independence.”

Thus far, the bailouts have not benefited any nation.  Instead, they have helped each nation’s creditors: international financial institutions, and the European Central Bank.  In return, the nations are required to follow the dictates of the European Union (EU).  Ireland and Greece were the first to feel this, followed by Portugal, and then Spain and Italy.

Missing in this process has been a critical ingredient: the consent of the governed.

In Ireland, the people threw out the incumbent party in favor of Fine Gail in opposition to bank bailouts, only to have the government expand on those bailouts — all the while surrendering the nation’s fiscal policy to Brussels.

In contrast, the people of Iceland successfully defeated a proposal that would have bailed out investors who bet poorly on Icesave.  The move has likely shut Iceland out of any possible unification with the EU.  Good for them.  More broadly, Iceland was the only nation known to have let their banks fail in the 2008 financial crisis because they were too big to save.

Iceland’s refusal to engage in bailouts inspired protests in Spain and Italy, a movement called M15. Some of the movement’s slogans included, “When we grow up we want to be Icelanders,” “don’t rescue the banks,” “let the culprits pay the crisis,” “banks rob us,” and “bipartisanship is dictatorship”.

In Finland, the True Finn Party achieved an historic 19 percent of the vote in the latest elections opposing bailouts of sovereigns like Portugal, Ireland, and Greece, rising from its relatively obscure 4 percent showing in the prior election.

In Germany itself, the people have been overwhelmingly opposed to any more bailouts and the resultant centralization of power in Brussels.

Yet, the compulsory intervention by European central authorities continues.  The story so far has been for the powers that be to double down every time the crisis has worsened.

In the end, two outcomes appear likely.  Either, the European monetary union will dissolve and nation-states will reassert their interests on the world’s stage, or they will succumb to a European superstate.

The question is why the powers that be are so committed to European government, when the peoples of Europe are so set against it.

Perhaps they don’t care.  Perhaps the project for a centralized European government — an idea attempted by the Romans, Napoleon’s France, and Hitler’s Germany, all ending in failure — is viewed as being more important than even national sovereignty or individual liberty.

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.

Copyright © 2008-2022 Americans for Limited Government