One of the currency’s core German founders, Oskar Lafontaine, is getting gloomier:
“The economic situation is worsening from month to month, and unemployment has reached a level that puts democratic structures ever more in doubt … The Germans have not yet realized that southern Europe, including France, will be forced by their current misery to fight back against German hegemony sooner or later.”
The very language speaks of the scale of the problem, as the German economy is now faltering as well. In Britain, the fringe right United Kingdom Independence Party or UKIP just proved in local elections that it is less fringe than David Cameron would like. It won more than 25 percent of the national vote. Cameron recently promised a national referendum on whether to stay in or get out – the first such vote since 1975. This is an excruciating parliamentary exchange.
Now comes Thatcher’s former Chancellor, Tory grandee Nigel Lawson, to argue that Britain should leave the EU entirely:
“I think that, if the thing is on balance good for the economy – which I believe it is; this was not something I just did off the cuff, this was something to which I had given a great deal of thought over a very long time, and I’ve no doubt that it’s good for the economy. If it’s good for the economy, then of course it’s good for jobs.”
The centrifugal forces in Europe now appear stronger than those holding it all together. And with each year of extra austerity, they grow stronger.