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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Trichet: I have a dream (an EU finance minister)

Jean Claude-Trichet is reaching the end of his term as ECB President, which is probably the reason why felt able to say this today:
"In this Union of tomorrow, or of the day after tomorrow, would it be too bold, in the economic field, with a single market, a single currency and a single central bank, to envisage a ministry of finance of the Union?"
In a provocatively political speech in Aachen, Trichet set out some ideas on what 'fiscal union' inside the eurozone might actually look and feel like, particularly for eurozone governments that call on their neighbours for financial help in future.

Trichet argued that there should be a "second stage" - a point at which recipients of bailouts are no longer able/willing to implement prescribed conditions, such as austerity - where other member states i.e. those stumping up the cash for the bailout "take themselves decisions applicable in the economy concerned":
"One way this could be imagined is for European authorities to have the right to veto some national economic policy decisions. The remit could include in particular major fiscal spending items and elements essential for the country’s competitiveness."
Given that a growing number of people are realising that the mid-to-long-term future of the eurozone is likely to require the 'twist or bust' choice between some form of fiscal union or some countries exiting, the question for the likes of Trichet is how do you sell 'fiscal union' to the general public.

Trichet dressed up his core message with various quotes from European philosophers and 'fathers of European integration' but this is unlikely to cut the mustard with the ordianry voters in Athens, Lisbon, Munich, or Amsterdam. As the FT's Martin Wolf noted this week, "How will the politics of these choices now play out? I truly have no idea. I wonder whether anybody does."


J.E. said...

EU competence creep is like a slug eating away at the lettuce of our democracy, ever so slowly, and leaving only dead, withered leaves behind it.

Ivo Cerckel said...

How will the politics of these choices now play out?
Ask your bottom!

When Trichet’s predecessor, the late Dr Willem F. Duisenberg, received the same Karlspreis nine years ago, he said:
The euro, probably more than any other currency, represents the mutual confidence at the heart of our community. It is the first currency that has not only severed its link to gold, but also its link to the NATION-STATE.

How dare Trichet as guardian of the euro, not of the nation-state, now call for intervention into the affairs of the nation-state from which the euro severed the link?

Here’s Trichet’s speech

Our graduate from the French school for bureaucrats, the Ecole Nationale d’Administration, invokes among others Erasmus, William Penn, Victor Hugo, Husserl, Paul Valéry who, the latter, wrotew “Wherever the names Caesar, Gaius, Trajan and Virgil, wherever the names Moises and St. Paul, wherever the Trichet calls for EU finance ministry
names Aristotle, Plato and Euclid have a significance and carry weight, that is where Europe is”

Trichet also invokes Immanuel Kant who died in 1804, the year the Code Napoléon, the French Code civil, was enacted.

In the Introduction to his Jäsche Logic, Kant writes: "Im 11ten und 12ten Jahrhundert traten die Scholastiker auf; sie erläuterten den Aristoteles und trieben seine Subtilitäten ins Unendliche. Man beschäftigte sich mit nichts als lauter Abstractionen. Diese scholastische Methode des AFTER=PHILOSOPHIRENS wurde zur Zeit der Reformation verdrängt, und nun gab es … Selbstdenker, die sich zu keiner Schule bekannten, sondern die Wahrheit suchten und annahmen, wo sie sie fanden. " (Akad.-Textausgabe, Vol. IX, p. 31 http://www.korpora.org/Kant/aa09/031.html ,
Albert Zimmermann, "Thomas Lesen" (legenda 2) Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog, 2000, p. 276)

"After" means "anus"

Now, Kant’s "Lectures on Logic", translated and edited by J. Michael Young at Cambridge University Press in 1992, contains in its Part IV "The Jäsche logic" from p. 521 to p. 640.

Young translates, p. 543:
"In the 11th and 12th centuries the "scholastics" appeared; they "elucidated" Aristotle and pursued his subtleties to infinity. They occupied themselves with nothing but abstractions. This scholastic method of PSEUDO-PHILOSOPHIZING was pushed aside at the time of the Reformation, and now there were … thinkers who thought for themselves, who acknowledged no school, but who instead sought the truth and accepted it where they found it. "

Young thus translates
"Diese scholastische Methode des After=Philosophirens"
"This scholastic method of pseudo-philosophizing"

How will the politics of these choices now play out?
Ask your bottom!

Ivo Cerckel

Anonymous said...

The True Finns and parties like them across Europe just got the inevitable boost from a leading exponent of the European bureaucratic elite who cannot see that their Empire has no clothes.

Rollo said...

Good idea, to envisage it. What would it look like? Would it have the international clout that Ashton has? Would it have the world leadership aura of Van Rompuy? Would it have the Military prowess as shown at Srebrinica? Would it donate funds to dictators and to dance troops? Yes it would. It would be a copmplete shambles. Let's avoid it.

Ian T said...

Breathtaking and bold vision for a single Europe from the channel to the Steppes, leaving others gawping at the audacity. Reminds one of someone esle ho had such a vison some time ago.

Fitter counties taking over the economonies of the weaker...not notion of dmecoracy or legitimicy here then.

I've nothing against invoking philosophers and writers. Rousseau and Locke could be useful in the discussion about legitimacy ...?

For me it's not competency creep but incomptency creep which worries me. From the people who assured their subordinated peoples anew prospeperity and stability, once they messed it up, their solution is 'give us mors more, more rules, mnore control, more tighter reins, more say....' In my view they lost the competency argument some time ago....

Anonymous said...

McDicko said......

For Moscow read Brussels. For commissar read commissioner. The spirits of Hitler, Lenin, Napoleon and Stalin are alive and with us still. They must be exorcised, the sooner the better.

Sheona said...

So now that Trichet has turned the ECB into a bad bank, he's looking for something else to ruin.

Andrew Tagg said...

Yet again we see more evidence of forces trying to take us towards a United States of Europe. If a Nations government can't set its own fiscal policies and does not have its own currency, does not have control over its own immigration and borders, is handing its foreign policy over to Brussels it is no longer a real country. This is the goal of Brussels Bourgeois and the European people are walking blindly into a new super state. The likes of Mr Tricket have known this since the inception of the Euro. Once the Euro was introduced the economists knew at some point the economic and fiscal disparities between Northern and Southern Europe would create the present debt crisis with the final outcome of Brussels setting fiscal policy. A single currency has to have a single fiscal policy. They knew they will eventually get their way and with it more power for the superstate.