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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

EU 'solidarity' in action

As details of a possible bailout plan for Greece, which could emerge from tomorrow's EU summit, are leaked, it is becoming clearer that 'solidarity' for some EU leaders is not a one way street.

And we are not necessarily referring to German demands for renewed fiscal discipline in exchange for financial aid to Greece.

Instead, Reuters is reporting that France and Germany are trying to land plum defence contracts from Greece. Under the headline "Broke? Buy a few warships", the article reports that, in an unexpected twist to the Greek debt crisis, France and Germany are pressing their beleaguered neighbour to buy six frigates, 15 helicopters and up to 40 top-of-the-range Rafale fighter aircraft (pictured), even as the country struggles to get its public finances in line.

The article quotes an advisor to the Greek PM George Papandreou saying: "No one is saying 'Buy our warships or we won't bail you out', but the clear implication is that they will be more supportive if we do what they want on the armaments front".

Possibly not the kind of solidarity that Mr Papandreou had in mind when he said he was expecting EU solidarity.

1 comment:

Martin Cole said...

Open Europe's fortnightly bulletin of yesterday's date has the following paragraph:

Gordon Brown has insisted that Britain will not have to pay for a Greek bailout. However as Britain is a contributor to the IMF, UK taxpayers' money would be used to aid Greece if the plan was put into practice. This is despite an opinion poll published by the French public opinion institute IFOP yesterday, showing that only 22% of UK voters are in favour of a bailout of Greece. Across Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK, 58% of voters disagreed with a bailout. (AFP, 26 March)

The opinion poll quoted from an AFP report actually states "...personnes interrogées refusent que leur pays aide financièrement la Grèce "au nom de la solidarité européenne" in plain English they refuse to support funds being advanced in the name of that loathsome concept "european solidarity".

Personally, I suspect along with many other UK citizens, I would have no objection to funds spent by the IMF on a bail out. After all, with our present politicians and EU commitments, will Britain not itself be soon knocking at the IMF's door. What percentage of Europeans would support funds for the UK, given its similarly sized deficit in percentage terms, but its non-membership of the Eurozone?

Wake up Britain, Open Europe only the day before reported the following "The £6.4 billion (EU) cost this year is more than twice the £3.1billion contributed last year."