It is sad, and funny, and incredibly poignant, to go back and read what promoters of the Single Currency were saying in the old days. And to save us doing the research, Open Europe (splendid folk) have done it for us, and published a booklet called “They Said it: How the EU élite got it wrong on the euro”. Find it at http://is.gd/MB7F0v.
Nick Clegg: “The single currency, far from being an agent of continental-style corporatism, is probably the greatest export vehicle of Anglo-Saxon economics … it has done more to enforce budgetary discipline .. than the IMF, the OECD, or the editors of The Economist”.
Ken Clarke: “The reality of the euro has exposed the absurdity of of anti-European scares”. “Opponents of the euro have been disheartened as their predictions of chaos and disaster have failed to materialise”.
One I especially like: my former MEP colleague Richard Corbett (Labour): “The euro has been a rock of stability ….Joining the single currency would be a major step”.
European Council, 2001: “The euro area now represents a pole of stability for those countries participating in it by protecting them from speculation and financial turmoil”. Tell that to the Greeks. Or the Portuguese!
Commission President Barroso: “The euro is a protection shield against the crisis”.
Peter Mandelson: “Staying out of the euro will mean progressive economic isolation for Britain”.
There is much more, but you get the drift. But some are starting to see the light.
Nick Clegg: “I don’t think the euro is for now…I accept that eurozone interest rates over the last few years would have been wrong for Britain”.
Mandelson: “The competitive value of the pound is helping exports and increasing the sourcing of manufactured goods in the UK”.
Editorial, Die Welt: “In the end, Germany will transfer its billions over to Greece”.
Karel de Gucht, EU Trade Commissioner: “We knew that Greece was cheating. It was clear as soon as they joined that there was something wrong (with their figures)”:
Greek Finance Minister, 2010: “We are in a terrible mess”.
Wolfgang Munchau, FT Journalist: “The experiment of a monetary union without political union has failed. The EU is about to confront a choice between integration and disintegration”.
Munchau’s comment is telling, because it illustrates one of the perverse features of the EU. Typically, the EU sets out on some federalist, integrationist project. But when it runs up against reality, and is seen to fail, no one says “Ah, maybe we were wrong to pursue integration”. They say “It has failed because we had too little integration. The medicine has failed, so double the dose”. But I take Munchau’s challenge, and I choose disintegration.
I despair of a Conservative-led government taking us out of Europe, or repatriating powers, or even stopping the rot. Perhaps the only way we’ll get out from under, and recover our freedom and democracy and sanity, is to wait for the EU project to disintegrate, as Yugoslavia and the USSR disintegrated before it.