What is Europe going to do with Greece? They vote "against austerity" and stock markets around the world fell sharply. Personally, I am not totally sure what voting against austerity means. I think it might be a bit like voting to be rich. But ets leave that unresolved issue for the moment....
Still, the Greeks managed to get the attention Europe's leaders. There is going to be another emergency summit. Now when was the last time we had one of those? It doesn't seem that long ago.
However, talking about Greece quickly gets boring. Our leaders don't want to be associated with failure. They want photo ops and sound bites. They want to build a new Europe of prosperity and stability. The Greek vote for extremism and confusion doesn't quite fit.
The language has moved since Sunday's vote. The mantra now is that Europe needs Growth, not austerity. Therefore, Europe is about to shift direction. This Emergency Summit will call time on the debt fixation.
Already, there are some "great ideas" buzzing through the capitals of Europe. One idea is that EU member states should create a venture capital fund. There is another initiative to build social entrepreneurship funds. There will now be smart regulation, as opposed to the stupid regulation we had before. And....there is also going to be a new accounting directive. That last one sent a shiver down my spine.
Exciting initiatives have also emerged from the engine room of Europe. In Brussels, the Commission will undertake an Annual Growth Survey for each member state. The acronym is already agreed; it will be the AGS. As we all know, European Commission paperwork always generates lots of growth and employment.
The European Commission also wants more money to finance "growth enhancing measures". The idea is that deficit crippled European countries should hand money over to Brussels so that the EC can spend it. The Commission promises that this money will finance a "Growth Compact" that will complement the Fiscal Compact.
Specifically, Mr Barroso wants EU leaders to cough up €10 billion for the European Investment Bank. He wants the bank to lend to cash-starved small and medium-sized businesses. So, the local corner shop doesn't need to go to RBS on the high street. It can go to Luxembourg and ask the EIB for a small loan to finance a new fridge for the soda pops.
Barroso also wants permission to introduce European Commission bonds. These bonds will fund the big ticket items like roads, railways, pipelines and electricity networks. Perhaps this is a stupid question, but since the European Commission doesn't generate any tax revenues, how will it pay the bonds back? Time to start waving your hands, Mr. Barroso....
The Commission President did have something to say about those Eurozone countries suffocating under the massive burden of debt: “Reducing debt and deficits is essential to build confidence and cut borrowing costs. Every euro spent on interest payments is a euro less for jobs and investment”. So the European Commission will start issuing debt and building up big deficits instead.
It is all falling apart. Delusions, illusions, and false hope.....