From the Financial Times:
Prepare for an even bigger U-turn from Ms Merkel
In agreeing to help bail out Spanish banks and enter into a virtual banking union, albeit with strings attached, Angela Merkel lost an important battle. It was not the first time. While Europe’s media call her “Madame No”, in reality she is more of a Neville Chamberlain than a Margaret Thatcher. This time, it is the Germans who are being blackmailed – by the French. It all started in early 2010, when Ms Merkel suggested Greece leave the eurozone. After Nicolas Sarkozy threatened her with ending the special French-German relationship, she gave in and helped to bail out Greece. That turned out to be a bailout of French banks. Since then, every time she has drawn a new line in the sand, the French have pushed her over it. When she demanded automatic sanctions against violators of the euro’s financial targets, Mr Sarkozy talked her out of it at Deauville. For decades, German chancellors resisted the French idea of a European economic government, until Ms Merkel adopted it. Not long after she proclaimed a Financial Transaction Tax “counterproductive”, she joined the French in their fight for it.
France can expect further concessions by Germany. While the “debt brake” (designed to stop politicians piling up debts) is now part of the German constitution, François Hollande refuses to make it part of France’s, though promised by his predecessor. Such a debt brake in the second largest eurozone country would have been of fundamental importance to Germany. With Mr Hollande, the risk of France herself becoming a bailout candidate is rapidly growing. While Germany has extended the retirement age to 67, Mr Hollande has started reducing it from 62 to 60. Though France’s youth unemployment rate is four times higher than Germany’s, Mr Hollande has raised the minimum wage to a record level. Last year, the French budget deficit ratio was more than three times as high as Germany’s. There is to be no austerity programme to speak of in France.
Remember that after the tsunami hit Japan, it took Ms Merkel just a few days to abandon her energy policy and announce a departure from nuclear energy altogether. When opinion polls showed support for nuclear energy had plunged, she executed the fastest policy change in recent German history. Despite her usual European rhetoric, she didn’t even consult with the French, although they were severely affected by her unilateral action. If a German referendum on Europe became one on the euro instead, she might face similar pressure. That could result in another spectacular policy U-turn, this time on the euro.
I share Mr. Farage's concern that the currency disaster called the Euro may, indeed, provide the Petri dish to resurrect national socialism once more in Europe.
As the economy all over Europe worsens, the rise of radical fringe parties is likely, as the recent history of Greece teaches us.
If history is any guide, once civil unrest begins in earnest, politicians quickly pass emergency measures that frequently violate their own constitutions.
Even in relatively passive countries like Canada, widespread protests quickly are repressed when the powerful feel threatened.
The Quebec Superior Court has dismissed attempts to strike down elements of Quebec’s controversial Bill 78 and provisions of a Montreal bylaw on public protests.Student groups had sought to strike down several articles in Bill 78, but Justice Francois Rolland said the bill must be debated in its entirety, which is supposed to happen in the fall.
It is our duty, as citizens of democracies, to demand our civil liberties be upheld by both the politicians and the courts, lest we gradually slide backward to the authoritarian times before WWII.