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Europe: A Continent Of Lies And Broken Promises; How The EU Elite Got It Wrong On The Euro

Tyler Durden
Zero Hedge
May 29, 2010 has put together a paper of the most blatant half-truths, propaganda, and outright lies, abused by Europe not only over the past month, but also over the past 10 years, for the entire duration of the now rapidly collapsing eurozone experiment. As the paper notes: “More than ten years since the euro was launched, and with the single currency facing its greatest ever crisis, the parameters have radically changed. Amid all the uncertainty, one thing has become painfully clear: the EU elite simply got it wrong on the euro.” The authors demand for “a call for greater honesty about the future of European cooperation and a reminder of the urgent need to find a new model that is both politically and economically sustainable” is just as valid in Europe as it is in the US: any system based on lies and opacity is doomed to failure. Europe found this out the hard way. We will too unless somehow we restore the basic truths like transparency, honesty and integrity, instead of merely campaign promises and teleprompter soundbites.

A sampling of the best quotes:


“The Community shall not be liable for or assume the commitments of central governments, regional, local or other public authorities, other bodies governed by public law, or public undertakings of any Member State, without prejudice to mutual financial guarantees for the joint execution of a specific project”.
– Article 104b, Maastricht Treaty, 1992.

“We have a Treaty under which there is no possibility of paying to bailout states in difficulty”.
– German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, 1 March 20101.

“[Greek Prime Minister] Papandreou has said that he didn’t want one cent. The German government will not give one cent, anyway“.
– German Economy Minister, Rainer Brüderle, 5 March 2010.

“The single currency, far from being an agent of continental style corporatism, is probably the greatest export vehicle of Anglo-Saxon economics. The euro has done more to enforce budgetary discipline, to promote privatisation and force through labour and product market liberalisation in the rest of Europe than any number of exhortations from the IMF, the OECD, or the editors of The Economist”.
– Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, 2002.

“The reality of the euro has exposed the absurdity of many anti-European scares while increasing the public thirst for information. Public opinion is already changing […] as people can see the success of the new currency on the mainland and the alarming fall in inward investment into Britain as international companies show an increasing reluctance to locate here”.
– Kenneth Clarke MP, 2002.

“The euro has been a rock of stability, as illustrated by the contrasting fortunes of Iceland and Ireland. Joining the single currency would be a major step”.
– Former Labour MEP Richard Corbett, 2009.

“We must enter the euro with a clean sheet on all the criteria”.
– Then Greek Finance Minister, Yannis Papantoniou, 1999.

“The thrust of the spirit and of the letter of the Treaty is that everything is done to construct the euro area as an optimum currency area. First by ensuring that it incorporates economies that have already proved being convergent in the fiscal field as well as in the monetary and financial fields”.
– Then Governor of the Bank of France, Jean-Claude Trichet, 1997.

“It is sometimes said that while the single monetary policy may be ‘right’ for the euro area as a whole, it is ‘wrong’ for many individual countries within the area. I disagree with this view. First, it overlooks the fact that within a single currency area adjustment can occur via prices and wages”.
– Then President of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg, 1999.

“Solidarity is possible, [and] will exist. A bailout is not possible and will not exist”.
– Then EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Joaquín Almunia, 29 January 2010.

“I will defend European Central Bank’s independence under any circumstance and with all my strength”.
– ECB President, Jean-Claude Trichet, 2007.

“The euro is a protection shield against the crisis”.
– European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, 5 February 2010.


What they said then

“The euro is like a breastplate that will become more and more resistant. The stability of the currencies within its area is without question”.

– Then Commissioner for Monetary Affairs, Yves Thibault de Silguy, 1998.

“The decision to launch the single currency is the first step and marks the turning point for Europe, marks stability and growth and is crucial to high levels of growth and employment”.
– Then UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, 199834.

“The euro is a protection shield against the crisis”.
– European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, 5 February 2010.

“The people should note that the Euro will not only be just as stable as the D-Mark, but also a lot more capable”.
– Then German Economy Minister Hermann Müller, 1999.

“I am certain the success story of the Deutschmark will continue with the success of the euro”.
– Then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, 1998.

“The euro area now represents a pole of stability for those countries participating in it by protecting them from speculation and financial turmoil. It is strengthening the internal market and contributing to the maintenance of healthy fundamental figures, fostering sustainable growth”.
– European Council conclusions, 2001.

“The Maastricht treaty obliges the European Central Bank to pursue price stability and the ECB is more likely to overfulfil its treaty target than to ignore it. As long as this is the case, there is not the slightest danger of a break-up of the Eurozone […] On the contrary, I expect the Eurozone to be exceptionally stable in the long run […] Make no mistake, the Eurozone is here to stay”.
– FT columnist Wolfgang Munchau, 200639.

“The euro area: How big will it be? My own prediction is that by the year 2002 the European monetary Union will include its current 11 members plus Greece (which is already committed to join), Sweden, Denmark, and Britain. By 2005, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Estonia will also be in. And by 2010, assuming all goes well and the monetary union is prosperous, no country in Europe will want to, or be able to, afford to stay out. Thus, Slovakia, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, and Bulgaria will all join the monetary union”.
– Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Mundell, sometimes described as ‘the father of the Euro’, 1999.

What they say now

“Euroland, burned down. A continent on the way to bankruptcy”.
– Front page of Der Spiegel, 5 May 2010.

“We cannot allow the bankruptcy of a euro member State like Greece to turn into a second Lehman Brothers […] The consequences of a national bankruptcy would be incalculable. Greece is just as systemically important as a major bank”.
– German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, 18 April 2010.

“Every one of us can see that the current euro crisis is the hardest challenge Europe has to meet since the Treaty of Rome was signed. It’s an existential challenge, and we must rise up to it”.
– German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, 19 May 2010.

“There is a grave threat of contagion effects for other member States in the monetary union and increasing negative feedback loop effects”.
– Bundesbank Chief, Axel Weber, 5 May 2010.

“Whichever scenario you choose, the euro is going to be weak. Even if the Eurozone were to allow more serious slippage in budgetary consolidation than I have suggested, that would probably not help the euro either, as markets would start to doubt the longevity of the currency union for political reasons”.
– FT columnist, Wolfgang Munchau, 7 March 2010.

“We should not knock this [bailout] deal from Athens. The Eurozone might not have survived otherwise […] On my estimate, the total size of a liquidity backstop for Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and possibly Italy could add up to somewhere between €500bn ($665bn, £435bn) and €1,000bn. All those countries are facing increases in interest rates at a time when they are either in recession or just limping out of one. The private sector in some of those countries is simply not viable at those higher rates”.

– FT columnist, Wolfgang Munchau, 2 May 2010.

Full paper from

Euro They Said It

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