Greek students protest at ECB president's speech in Berlin

October 26, 2011

Greek students entered an auditorium in Humbold University in Berlin holding banners during the last speech by European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet, who calls more more rigid control by the EU over each sovereign state.

The young protesters yelled slogans against him while waving banners reading “Troika out of Greece”, “No more money for the banks” and “Say no to debt tyranny”.

After the protest was over, the ECB president continued his speech underlining the need of establishing a single euro-area finance ministry. Moreover, he supported the idea of euro-area authorities gaining a much deeper and more authoritative role upon countries repeatedly failing to formulate economic policies, reports Greek Reporter.

Mr. Trichet conveyed his his speech the desire of Brussels to more actively limit the soveriegnty of each individual EU member state. The English translation (from the website of the ECB) of his text states: "For Europe to realise fully its future potential, it needs the right rules and the right institutions...

"Europe requires a solid form of governance to ensure that the actions of individual countries are oriented towards the common good. Our current arrangements have not yet fully met this standard. They are now being improved. It is a continuous process which will call for Treaty changes if necessary."

In the portion of the speech where Mr. Trichet describes the "Europe of tomorrow", he speaks of a "need" to take control over all aspects of the states' economy.

"First and foremost, every country in the euro area needs to keep its own house in order.

"This means responsible economic policies on behalf of governments and rigorous mutual surveillance of those policies by the Commission and Member States – going beyond the indispensable surveillance of fiscal policies to encompass all aspects of the economy"...

"I am aware that many observers wonder what can be done if a Member State simply cannot deliver on its promises.

"That is why I suggested a new approach to the policing of economic governance.

"For countries that lose market access, the current approach of providing aid against strong conditionality is justified. Countries deserve an opportunity to put the situation right themselves and to restore stability.

"But ... this approach should have clearly defined limits. A second stage should be envisaged for a country that persistently fails to meet its programme targets.

"Under this second stage, euro area authorities would gain a much deeper and more authoritative role in the formulation of that country’s economic policies.

"This would move us away from the present concept where all decisions remain in the hands of the country concerned. Instead, it would be not only possible, but in some cases compulsory, for the European authorities to take direct decisions.

"Implementing this idea of the second stage would evidently require a Treaty change. It would also imply a new concept of sovereignty."

Where does it all end? Nobody knows.... "We must look forward – to the opportunities of Europe for our collective betterment..."

Certainly a bright future awaits all. Of course, he says, there may need to be more changes, which would take this process further and deeper. According to the president of the ECB, the treaty needs to be changed today to reflect changes happening today, to make things better for tomorrow, when it will need changes to reflect what will happen tomorrow. Quoting one of the original architects of the EU Jean Monet, he said, "Personne ne peut encore dire aujourd’hui la forme qu’aura l’Europe que nous vivrons demain, car le changement qui naîtra du changement est imprévisible (Nobody can say today what will be the institutional framework of Europe tomorrow because the future changes, which will be fostered by today’s changes, are unpredictable)."

26 октября 2011 г.

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