Thursday, January 9, 2014


Yes, it's coming down again, but that's not what I'm talking about in the title to this piece.  The Euros fascinate me, they really do.  The ability to flit with life, touching reality only briefly is a masterful achievement.  It's not like the Leader will, as proven, will from time to time deliberately attempt to mislead (lying); these lads have managed to convince themselves of the truth of their utterances which is a remarkable feat.

The latest practitioner of this art is he head boy himself, Jose Manuel Barroso, head of the Commission who a day or so ago announced that the crisis in Euro was over and there was nothing but blue skies ahead.  Ireland, said he, was out of crisis and even back in the borrowing game.  Spain's numbers were far better than expected and Latvia, the newest member of the Clan would soon be the Rock Star of Europe.  There was of course a few trouble spots in between but surely they would be resolved by the end of the year.

He's a politician of course and what you rarely hear from a pol is the talk of trouble out down in the valley especially if the trouble is on his watch.  "It's Bush's fault" is easy (so easy the Euros were also using that line), but after five or six years of somewhat dismal economic and fiscal performance the response one tends to get when the "Bush Solution"--or the local equivalent--is trotted out is, "Who's Bush?"  It's on to Plan B in the USA but for Euroland it's simply declare victory and move on.  Makes life a lot easier.

The reality is of course somewhat different.  The decline in Spanish unemployment for example is more of a result of unemployed Spaniards being found in ever-increasing numbers in England and Germany, creating a phenomenon not unlike that in the United States, while the overall unemployment rate in the EU remains at an uncomfortable and unsustainable 12%+.  Italy is faring no better it would appear although it is far more difficult to determine, as the Italian employment rate has been unreliable since Julie was off in Gaul.  There is of course little argument that the Euro as viewed internally as the currency of trade is vastly over-valued in regard to both countries, not to mention anything else south of the Alps.

All that would enough of a concern if it were not for France which appears to be finding itself more comfortable in playing the role of the sick man of Europe, a condition which is more and more placed at the feet of Frankie and his economic and (especially) tax policies.  The man is facing an increasingly serious political problem.  And of course there is Germany which has yet to face the first truly tough issue with a coalition government deeply divided on political dogma.  It will come and the result is nowhere guaranteed as I do not believe that decades of disagreement are easily overcome.

Anyway, if I were Mr. Barroso I would certainly temper my enthusiasm with a cold, hard stare at the reality about him.  I suspect each one of these issues will arise in the first half of this year and fairly quickly.  As a result, issues which previously have been allowed to lay fallow, such as immigration, will find increasing importance in the discussion.  The Policies of the ECB, whilst central to the overall issue are yet a separate discussion entirely.  Mr. Draghi has, in one sense, played his cards quite close to his vest, not to mention the formulation of a United States of Europe in regard to the Banking Industry.  Angels fear to tread on that ground and I have never been accused of being seen with a Harp.  I'll wait a bit for even broad generalities on that one.

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