Well, that settles it then

Remarks prepared by European Commission President José Manuel  Barroso for his potentially awkward news conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán —

Earlier this year, I made clear that it is not only the so-called “federalists” who want to see more economic governance and economic co-ordination in Europe; it is the markets. The markets are demanding more coordination at European level. The markets are sending every day a very clear message that Europe has to work in a more coordinated manner when it comes to economic and financial issues, so it is not a question of utopia or idealism to ask for stronger economic governance and coordination. It is a matter of realism, sound, solid common sense.

Does Mr Barroso really mean to argue that European Union citizens should be willing to surrender more economic autonomy to EU institutions because “the markets” demand it?  You could fry that argument in a referendum, if you had a referendum.

8 thoughts on “Well, that settles it then

  1. Citizens, or national governments? I’d be skeptical that it makes much practical difference to individual citizens whether it’s national governments or EU institutions that exercise “economic autonomy”, except possibly in the very smallest countries.

  2. Why would one need a referendum on the subject of what EU nations have already agreed to – live within their means?

  3. Europe is a sort of microcosm of the world system. So soon we will have a push for global federalism or world government if you will.

  4. It’s only fair, isn’t it?
    If you can use real or even imaginary demands of the “markets” for all other sorts of policy demands , why not for the cause of european integration?

  5. “You could fry that argument in a referendum, if you had a referendum.”


    Maybe the countries who are not hopelessly in debt (which wouldn’t, incidentally and ironically include Hungary, which is hopelessly in debt), could try frying the argument that way, but I doubt the rest have that liberty, since at the moment (see Spain) they are even letting the markets tell them how many years they have to work. Naturally we should never have gotten to this point, but we have. As the old adage puts it, “beggars can’t be choosers”, and they can’t realistically hold referendum either. The only meaningful referendum they could hold would be on whether to default on their debt or not. Perhaps that is what Mr Barroso means.

    And voters in those countries who are not in excessive debt, and decide to entertain themselves with the paraphenalia of Constitutional Courts and referendum on the issues, had better watch out too, since given the interlocked nature of the European banking system, while they are busy looking for the moral high ground they may find that they are actually the ones who get fried by the luxury of choice, as they send the other lot off into inevitable default.

  6. Like it or not, markets have become our masters. The FED has come out openly about juicing the stock market with their wealth effect dogma, Europeans are being taken to pieces by the markets, all this because bond investors who knowingly took risks and got paid for it, dont wanna take even a small haircut on their holdings. This is insane.
    I hope european countries will start looking more to Island example, nationalize their casino banks, throw in jail and claim back the overinflated bonuses the fraudsters paid themselfs, default on debts that cannot be paid and shrink the financial sector to a utility purpose only.

  7. If any message can be taken from the current state of international bond markets it is not going to be much more than “this is not a state you want to be in” which is fairly obvious. There are a range of possible ways forward so saying that the only one that the bond markets will accept is the more EU option seems rather odd. Perhaps it would be the best option. Perhaps asking Germany to return to the Deutschmark (since its economic cycle seems so out of sync with everybody else) and then let the Euro float downwards would be a better option. At this point nobody knows, and they certainly cannot get an answer to a complex question like that from the spot price of government debt.

  8. ” to argue that European Union citizens should be willing to SURRENDER more economic autonomy to EU institutions because “the markets” demand it? You could fry that argument in a referendum, if you had a referendum.”

    Well, using the expression ´surrender´would be taken as one-sided in any referendum regarding the Commissioner words. Mr Barroso mentioned ´coordination´, but it only takes a fanatic to mispronunce his words. Fanatics love referendums only to be given that chance.

    This blog should start thinking of a rebranding: “A Handfull of Eurosceptics” could be more appropriate.

    PS: To Edward Hugh: Spain is not letting the markets dictate how long should people work. It is the population pyramid, the life expectancy of its people, what dictates when should pensions kick in. At any rate this is not just happening in Spain but in every advanced economy. So far the spanish pension system has produced surpluses in the last ten years, even now with 20% unemployment it has a surplus. The reforms now contemplated are not market driven but a matter of good planning for a time in the future, fifteen or twenty years from now. By the way, Germany has longer working lifes and higher requirements for its pensions than Spain. Who are the beggars and who the choosers?

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