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Friday, 10 July 2015

Betrayal can only happen if you love - Greece

“Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love”, is a famous quote from a novel by John le CarrĂ©. Today I was reminded of this quote after hearing the latest Greek bail-out proposals. Both the Greek PM and the leaders of the European Union are about to betray their voters.

It's quite likely that the Greek voters will forgive their PM as - day by day - it becomes more clear that Greece was/is heading for a catastrophe. Somehow it's quite less likely that the other European voters will forgive their leaders for their betrayal. A write-off on the 1st and 2nd Greek bail-out loans and granting another 3rd bail-out of some 50 billion euro, will be heavy ammunition for the radical left and radical right Euro skeptical political parties.

The continued blatant lying by our elected politicians is causing a serious trust issue. The Greek PM could probably argue that he loves his country more than his principles. I suppose that he can even get away with his betrayal. How about the others?? What do they love more than their principles? The most likely voter response would be: their jobs. They may try to convince us that they love Europe more than their principles. It will be a hard sell.

Europe is a geographical region. Nothing more, nothing less. It's not (yet) a political union like the USA. Mostly, its nations are bound by economical ties and a single currency since 2002. There is no common culture (e.g., language) despite a predominant Christian background. The European dream only exists in the minds of a few. The love for Europe also has to compete with the distrust between European nations after many centuries of armed conflicts and 2 World Wars.

At least the Greeks had some leverage on the EU. What leverage do the Brits have on Europe?? Given Donald Tusk’s remarkably honest statements (NRC) on the length of the EU-Greek negotiations, it's much more likely that the Brits will basically get a “take it, or leave it” option. The common English choice of words (i.e., "continental Europe", at the very best) when it comes to Europe, already reveals that they do not feel part of Europe.

The almost failure of the single currency gives 2 fundamental options: a move towards a political union including a redistribution of European wealth rather than continued debt write-offs, OR a continued ostrich approach including continued lies to the European voters. Sooner of later that would provide radical left and right with adequate ammunition to dismantle the European dream.

The current large size of the EU prevents a swift successful move towards a political union. There are 2 basic ways to such a union: a mere “economic” merger (e.g., USSR) and a full legal merger (e.g., USA). An economic merger always runs the risk of future unwinding. A legal merger would still provide that risk, albeit far more remote. A move towards a political union could start by merging some of the original 6 members of the ECSC, being: BeNeLux, France, Germany and Italy. Also see my blogs of January 10February 13, April 11, and May 12.

Acting like a political union but denying its presence is not the way forward. The voters will use their feet to show or prove that, if necessary.

Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love. John le CarrĂ©