Life in E minor
Mornings in Europe aren´t what they used to be. Our waking thoughts used to flit to
contemplations of aromatic continental breakfasts, but now on the old continent,
the break of day brings preoccupations about jobs, debt crises, deficits, austerity
measures, and lapsed sub-prime mortgages, as we try to make sense of terms
which a few years ago, were lexically limited to the jargon of bankers and economists.
We live in perpetual uncertainty, teetering at the edge of a depression, many
of us braced and bracing for the dawn when debt surpasses bailout capacity. Can
the euro, born in 1999, survive to see the end of 2011?
Now, when I say “we,” I don´t mean the French or Germans who throughout the commercial chaos have managed
to lower unemployment. Germany, with higher debt than Spain, is giving tax
rebates and has record employment. The French and Germans reside in Europe
major, at the core, and are calling the shots. I´m talkin about the
“we” in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, England, the satellite “we” who belong to
Europe minor. It´s hard to say why there are two Europe’s, but there are.
Political commentators believe one Europe was never viable-Europe exists as a market
place and currency created to rival the US dollar, but not as a political entity.
It is a collection of states, but these states don´t belong to a country called
Europe, and each appears to follow its own rules. There is talk now of
deepening the Union by revisiting the treaty, but many socio-economic pundits wonder
if such a move may be too little, too late.
In Europe minor, we don´t know how long our governments will last nor who is
choosing them. Two leaders have fallen in two weeks. Clout lies with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the power pair of Europe, now dubbed “Merkelzy.
Today, November 20, Spaniards will elect a new government to be led by PP leader Mariano Rajoy. The socialists
are out, the crisis having claimed its ounce of political blood. Spain has
taken drastic steps to cut debt, but cannot catch a break in the current stormy climate, and its economy has grown less
than expected while unemployment soars, particularly among youth. The change in
political directorate is expected to boost investor confidence and the public
is placing all its hopes for the future in the PP´s economic plans.
Electoral euphoria may soon become disillusion. Spain this
week paid the highest rate to sell its debt, only just shy of the seven percent
mark, which is seen as unsustainable. Spain is being pulled into the euro
zone’s debt crisis. Meanwhile, as autonomous communities cut budgets, strikes
have begun in the health and education sectors. The Indignant continue their
protests and ballots are expected to be spoilt by and for them.
The euro plunged this week and there are now open discussions about culling countries
from the euro zone, leaving a core of stable states, but it seems more likely
that if some of the 17 go, all will fall apart and nations will return to
national currencies. On Monday the German chancellor said that Europe faces its gravest hour since the Second World War. The
world is doing an economic flip flop, and the developed are trading places with
Has Europe really benefited from monetary union? In the countries of E minor such as Spain, citizens argue that they enjoyed more spending power before te euro. Some experts opine that the gains in trade and investment have
been marginal. Others beg to differ. But they all worry about one thing: time
is running out for the euro and the euro zone and determinative measures must
be adopted. A crash seems nevertheless, inevitable:
one of these daybreaks in Europe, we will wake up to no Europe.
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