Le Figaro (France): Europe is doomed to become a power

Pascal Lamy is always ready to talk about Europe, especially in the current crucial time when we require a delicate exit from the crisis, which could lead to a new social disaster. “The Europeans are still under the influence of morphine received state aid in one form or another, but we expected 50% increase of unemployment in all the countries of the Union, where it accounted for about 6.6% of the active population and may increase to 10%”. Faced with this challenge, the EU can slip between the treaties and successfully carry out the “great transformation”. Or stay in the intermediate and sluggish regulatory state, which is contempt, indifference, and (more often) ingratitude. Lamy said in the material that came out in the spring in the magazine “Commenter”.

First of all, do not go on about the simplistic conclusion that 2.5 months extra sanitary measures and undermine the economy not marked the loss of the European Union. Nationalists can’t wait to celebrate the end of the party, as the country restored the borders. In fact, this temporary restoration is always provided for contracts in an emergency situation, and health is subject to the principle of subsidiarity. Thus, member States have outlawed sanitary selfishness, which is nothing unusual. And theft of masks or refusing to share them, restoring borders, without warning, did not create impression of Beethoven’s symphonies. It was certainly not the most beautiful steps, but they are difficult to impute the EU.

At the Federal level, the European Commission and the ECB to take adequate measures after the first error, Christine Lagarde, which are today forgotten. The head of the ECB has provided a trillion euros for the redemption of the public debt and reducing the debt burden. This has saved Italy, which does not show gratitude to the EU, though it is already saved November 2011. The European Commission fought for budget measures for the whole of Europe. Angela Merkel and Emmanuel macron turned it in the Franco-German initiative, which resulted in a counterattack dissenting countries (the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden…). Ursula von der Leyen, in turn, recently announced the official figure of € 750 billion.

This is the essence of the history of the European Union after the fall of the Berlin wall. Unity is erosion. Conversion is ossification. Such an unnatural logic of the growing consolidation of the Union due to the circumstances. “The pursuit of sovereignty starts from the strengthening of a sense of belonging. Erdogan, Putin, trump and XI Jinping became the catalysts for the feelings of European identity”, — said Pascal Lamy.

It all started after 2008. In 2011, France won from Germany, so she abandoned the monetary conservatism of the ECB and allowed to buy government debt. “We have crossed the first Rubicon when forget about the Maastricht Treaty, where it was said that the ECB won’t Finance a bankrupt state,” says Lamy. Then the Europeans took control of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. In 2015 the influx of migrants resulted in a significant extension of the allocated budget funds to the EU Agency for security of external borders. The old idea of European officials on the unconditional hospitality was a tad off to the side (and it better!) the new realism, which pays more attention to security. The rise of European populism has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Finally, in 2020 I had to deal with covid-19. “All the crises that hit the EU over the last ten years, it has been nature that should cause us to desire to cease to be victims of other people’s problems and mistakes,” says Lamy. That is, a major crisis covid-19 and various geopolitical shocks will eventually force Europe to reject the passive fatalism, for which she just waits until the wheel of history itself does not turn to her? “Europe is doomed to become a power”, — said Pascal Lamy. And it’s not just beautiful words a long-standing supporter of European construction based on the economy. “For a long time I thought that the economic Union will create a political Union, and that we can turn economic lead into political gold. It was a mistake. Between the workers and the citizen there is a species barrier. Therefore, it is not enough just to create a European passport or a flag, as I thought, when I was working in the Commission, Delors”, — he admitted to us on the phone.

One time Pascal Lamy supported the entry of Turkey into the EU. Then he considered the European Union an international organization that promotes trade and peace. However, the opinion Lamy has changed, and positions of all those who are called Europeanists. Now he proposes the formation of policy sovereignty to the European level, based on at least two pillars: the ability to compete with the USD currency and the TRANS-European budgetary solidarity (until the formation of a European army, most of which will be entrusted to France). The first stage of such a transition from “geo-Economics to geopolitics” is based on a double European initiative of the ECB and the recovery plan. The European Commission has also the opportunity to go beyond the role of regulator standards for goods and guard rules of competition. Europe can also provide collective defence and the system of continental solidarity. It paves the way since 2008. It remains only to raise the European budget to the proper level, that is from 1% to 3% of EU GDP.

Public Finance is in organic connection with the implementation of political sovereignty. No European state power will not be redistribution between rich and poor regions, collective action, European citizenship and European democracy. To expand the interdependence necessary for the prevention not only of the disaster after covid-19, but also the risk of secular stagnation in Europe. “It is hardly possible to go for sovereignty without economic growth”, — said Pascal Lamy.