Nearly 4/10 of the control over the economic value of Transnational Corporations in the world is held, via a complicated web of ownership relations, by a group of 147 TNCs in the core, which has almost full control over itself. The top holders within the core can thus be thought of as an economic “super-entity” in the global network of corporations. A relevant additional fact at this point is that 3/4 of the core are financial intermediaries.
Austerity policies implemented by the European Commission and some States, including Germany, have failed. There is no democracy in Europe, but an Euro-oligarchy. It is incumbent on us to create a Euro-democracy.
France’s 3,600-page labor code is still very much a sacred cow, fiercely defended by unions and the socialist party’s left-fringe in parliament. A case in point: In August, the French Constitutional Council knocked back a part of Macron’s economic reform program that aimed to cap the amount of money workers could claim before labor tribunals in cases of wrongful dismissal.
That raises the prospect of further battles over Macron’s next reform bill — the same one he advertised before the German notables.
Varoufakis: The French government feels that it has a weak hand. Its deficit is persistently within the territory of the so-called excessive deficit procedure of the European Commission, which puts Pierre Moscovici, the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, and France’s previous finance minister, in the difficult position of having to act tough on Paris under the watchful eye of Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister.
It is also true, as you say, that the Eurogroup is completely “stitched up” by Schäuble. Nevertheless, France had an opportunity to use the Greek crisis in order to change the rules of a game that France will never win. The French government has, thus, missed a major opportunity to render itself sustainable within the single currency. The result, I fear, is that Paris will soon be facing a harsher regime, possibly a situation where the president of the Eurogroup is vested with draconian veto powers over the French government’s national budget. How long, once this happens, can the European Union survive the resurgence of nasty nationalism in places like France?
Varoufakis: Dr Schäuble’s plan: A Eurozonal budget overlord (possibly a glorified version of the Eurogroup’s President) equipped only with negative, or veto, powers over national budgets. Over France’s budget to be precise. A Eurogroup that gets more and more powerful as the European Commission fades into the background, limited to looking after matters of minor importance.
To those who speak of ‘more Europe’ and in favour of a ‘political union’, I say: Beware! The Soviet Union was also a political union. The question is: What kind of political union? A democratic realm of shared prosperity? Or an iron cage for Europe’s peoples?
A federal democracy, let me remind you, like Germany, the United States or Australia, is founded on the sovereignty of its citizens as reflected in the positive power of their federal representatives to legislate what must be done on the sovereign people’s behalf.
In sharp contrast, the Schäuble Plan envisages only negative powers: A budget overlord that can only say ‘No’ but has very limited capacity to recycle surpluses from the surplus to the deficit regions of Europe – which is what a federal system would do.
The problem with this plan is twofold. First, it would not help to safeguard and to manage the Eurozone’s macro-economy. Secondly, it would violate basic principles of Western liberal democracy.
So, why is Greece relevant in all this? Because it is part of the plan to use Greece as a morality tale, as a demonstration to you folks of what awaits you if you resist this disciplinarian version of political union. Grexit is meant as a threat that forces the people of France to accept as lesser evils permanent austerity, permanent crisis and direct control over your destiny by unaccountable, faceless, economically illiterate pseudo-technocrats.
Make no mistake in this: Our government was crushed because we dared say no to the Troika at a time when there were plans afoot for the Troika to come to Paris. Don’t say you have not be warned. “We are all Greeks now” not because there is something superior about the Greeks but because the Athens Spring lit up a small candle emitting hope to all Europeans. A candle that the Troika had to extinguish at all cost, lest its authority be challenged by the spectre of democracy.