Editorial: The Old Rock 21.10.11
What shape for EU? Greece, it seems likely, will before long have to pull out of the Euro and revert to the drachma, with all the attendant negatives for people in that country and the financial system of the globe more generally.
On Monday, MPs will debate whether Britain should hold a referendum on continued membership of the European Union, when we can look forward to a plethora of English nationalist, Tory MPs following Home Secretary Theresa May’s example at the party conference of highlighting a minor defect of the system as compelling and unquestionable evidence that it is broke. That’s not to say that EU membership is an unqualified good: anybody in fishing or agriculture, as many by necessity are in these islands, can testify to that. Reform of CAP and CFP are at least now the subjects of meaningful discussions.
A more mature debate might focus on what shape the European club should take to meet the massive competitive challenges of China and India and the Far East as a whole. Withdrawing from the club is not really an option for countries that think seriously about this; the difficulties of the Euro prompted by the financial crisis were not unforeseen – textbooks on currency unions printed long before the Euro was created are full of siren warnings about a partially-built system. Only now are the member countries talking about bailout mechanisms which should have underpinned the Euro from day one.
We await the debate with interest – but not high expectations.