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The hidden Europe agenda

A partial default for Greece cooked up over the past few days by the EU, IMF and European Central Bank is an attempt to save both the banks who own the debt and the euro.

The sum involved is a staggering £2.6 trillion – equivalent to £7,800 per person in the eurozone or £230,000 per person in Greece.

This scheme will not prevent a dire and miserable future faced by the people of Greece or those living in Ireland or Portugal.

A crucial objective of the EU elite is to force through a fiscal, monetary and economic union of the 17 euro member states.

As European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has stated, "the only right way to stop the negative cycle and to strengthen the euro is to deepen integration, namely within the euro area. This is the way to go.

"It is also the only way for the euro area to really play the role that investors and global partners expect it to play.

“What we need now is a new, unifying impulse – a new federalist moment. Let's not be afraid of the word – a federalist moment is indispensable”

Following this he said: “We have a monetary union, but we have not yet the instruments of a full fiscal economic union. It takes time, yes.”

The short and long-term plans are already in place to prop up the eurozone which have serious implications for the people of Britain.

These plans include changing the Lisbon Treaty, the EU constitution, and to put in place yet another treaty for the eurozone – the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) designed to form an economic and monetary union governed centrally.

The proposed ESM is fundamentally undemocratic and outside EU treaties. The Lisbon Treaty makes clear there cannot be a bailout of any of the 27 member states which defies the partial default plan.

So alongside the bailout, the ESM is the proposed solution to the dilemma and is specifically designed to finance what is in reality a slush fund.

The ESM will be based in Luxembourg with a board of governors appointed by the eurozone states and operate outside the EU.

It is part of the two-tier “Europe” which the Con-Dem government has not only accepted but promotes.

In the run-up to all previous EU treaties there were at least some discussions at national level.

The ESM has been concocted in great haste with misleading publicity by the leaders of France and Germany.

These leaders are dictating to the eurozone members that they have to make national balanced budget rules by next summer. This includes the assault on public-sector spending and severe austerity policies.

In other words, national sovereignty, parliamentary democracy and the separation of powers in the EU are to be suspended by mutual agreement between France and Germany.

The proposed ESM measures are an attempt to salvage the wreckage of the monetary union. The plans are, to say the least, highly unpopular and opposed by a growing number of people and labour movements.

These measures will not bring about real stability to an unstable monetary union, as daily evidence makes clear.

To try to make 17 different economies work in cohesion is totally impractical – something that EU critics have forecast from the beginning.

On September 9 German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Germany's parliament that the current European constitution “offers no effective foundation” for the eurozone in the longer term.

“The common currency can only be preserved if there is further integration and more reliability,” she said, adding: “We won't get around making further treaty changes.”

German officials have stressed that treaty changes would take a long time to negotiate and ratify, however, and that the eurozone will have to solve the current debt crisis on the basis of the existing EU treaty – hence the plan for a partial default for Greece.

Immediately after at the G7 summit of finance ministers, Chancellor George Osborne said: "It's on the cards that a treaty change may be proposed.

“This would be to further integrate the eurozone, further strengthen fiscal integration. I have said there is a remorseless logic from monetary union to fiscal union and it's in Britain's interests that the eurozone is stable.”

Osborne indicated Britain would support a new treaty, which requires ratification from all 27 EU member states, but made clear Britain's interests must be considered.

“It's crucial that Britain's interests on financial services, on the single market, on competition are protected, that we're not out-voted by the eurozone, that there is not an inbuilt eurozone caucus in the system.”

Hence the financial sector, which led Britain into the current fiscal mess, is to be protected and the austerity and attacks on the public sector by common EU policies are to continue.

On March 25 the European Council agreed to add a third paragraph to Article 136 of the EU constitution.

"The member states whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole.

“The granting of any required financial assistance under the mechanism will be made subject to strict conditionality.”

This is a fundamental change and that is why the EU political elite class are rushing around to amend the Lisbon Treaty and, in the meantime, have the ESM in place.

In other words, the Con-Dem government knew about these steps but has failed to explain them to either Parliament or the electorate in Britain.

An ESM fund to be put in place is expected to be £430 billion and separate from the £2.6 trillion, but it would not be enough to bail out other states beyond Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Article 10 of the ESM permits an extension of the fund by a decision of the governors who are national finance ministers.

They do not have to ask their parliaments for the approval. That would turn parliaments into open ATM cash points.

Although national parliaments have to approve the transactions, in practice this is most likely to have been handed to the ESM governors along with the PIN code.

Article 27 and 30 of the ESM treaty grants the institution and the officials “immunity from every form of judicial process.”

The ESM and staff will be exempt from taxation and normal rules for financial institutions. The ESM will essentially be a law unto itself and a parallel government to the EU in Brussels over the eurozone and national budgets normally the prerogative of parliaments.

This treaty is due for ratification by the end of the year without any meaningful discussion in the 17 parliaments. Above all else, it will not resolve the financial problems of the eurozone or wider EU.

With the bailout, which is still a loan, further extreme pressure on Greece is being exerted by Germany, France, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to get out of debt and for further austerity and privatisation.

At the same time the interest to be paid on loans is currently 15 per cent, the economy is shrinking, not growing, and practically everything bar the sun and sea has been privatised and taxed.

The outcome of all this bullying is not clear except for the partial default plan, as France and Germany in particular do not want the euro to collapse.

French banks own much of the Greek debt and want their money back. Germany wants to keep the dominant political and economic position in the EU and eurozone.

What must happen for the sake of the people not only in Greece, Ireland and Portugal but in the other EU member states is for the euro to be disassembled and for nation states to go back to their national currencies, to retrieve the sovereign right to control their own budgets, interest and exchange rates.

That means ending the new thrust to Euro-federalism and ditching the neoliberal “free” market.

There is no need for a European Union. For Britain the immediate alternative must be to withdraw from this anarchic chaos, get out of the clutches of financiers and bankers, avoid bailing them out and stop the common EU austerity policy.

John Boyd is secretary of the Campaign against Euro-federalism and is speaking at the Morning Star conference on Alternatives on October 22 in Salford. The draft ESM treaty can be found at www.openeurope.orguk/docs/draftesmtreaty.pdf and further information can be found at www.caef.org.uk

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This document was last modified by Mick Carty on 2011-09-29 10:20:45.
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