European elites mistake nation states for populist demagoguery


And that is not the proverbial Europe “à la carte” ridiculed by the governing elites in France and Germany, who bear an enormous responsibility for mismanaging the European Union they now see as the only way of clinging to power.

The British, for example, refused to join the euro because they did not want to give up their monetary sovereignty for the sake of being part of a genuine European customs union and its single market. A reminder: Any exchange rate change violates the customs union because it is technically equivalent to an import tariff and an export subsidy.

Another example is the Czech Republic’s steadfast decision to manage its own monetary policy, even though Prague’s budget deficit of 1.3 percent of GDP, gross public debt of 42 percent of GDP and an inflation rate of about 2 percent would make it a stellar member of the monetary union. And, just like the British, the Czechs fully realize that by maintaining their own currency (the koruna) they are missing some trade and investment advantages of the European single market.

The Czechs are being left alone, but the Brexiters and the Italian, Hungarian and Polish governments are attacked as nationalists and populists.

Predictably, French President Emmanuel Macron is leading the charge against the nationalists and their alleged populist deceptions. He recently proposed a “European renaissance,” no less, around three main themes: freedom, protection and progress.

The sad truth is that Macron’s appeal to EU audiences is just his own party’s electoral platform for the next European parliamentary elections on May 23-26, 2019. Unable to calm down the social unrest in France, and fighting low opinion polls, Macron is using Europe to attack his domestic opponents — all branded as nationalists and populists — by extolling the protective power of “European sovereignty,” a mysterious constitutional category of his own invention.

Source: CNBC

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