Armstrong Economics Blog/European Union
Re-Posted Apr 26, 2017 by Martin Armstrong
Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble of Germany is starting to show signs of rebellion against the elite in Brussels. With the event of BREXIT, the EU is more concerned about trying to punish Britain than they are in reflecting upon what is going so terribly wrong. They will throw their support behind Macron in France fearing that a Le Pen win may be the end of Brussels. Consequently, the EU Commission is trying to punish Britain, and is actually dividing Europe once again. There will be the EU membership, and then there will be the Eurozone within, limited to those countries who surrender their sovereignty to Brussels relinquishing their currency, but not their debt.
Schäuble is clearly attempting to save the Eurozone and make it operational at the same time to protect German exports within Europe. The driving force behind the Euro was to eliminate foreign exchange risk so German manufacturers could sell to all of Europe on a regular basis without currency fluctuation disturbing their sales.
Yet Schäuble is actually looking at reducing the power of the EU for reading between the lines, he has no confidence in the abilities of the EU Commission to manage Europe. Obviously, BREXIT is restructuring the EU only insofar as they seek to punish Britain rather than reform the problems that caused it. That means the Euro zone will be restructured as a block within the EU leaving the institutions, such as the ECB, applicable to the EU. The rules within the Eurozone are by no means clearly defined. This is how Markel opened the gates to refugees without ever going to a vote first in the EU. Thus, the unilateral decisions of Germany have then been applied to all of Europe without any democratic process whatsoever.
Schäuble is looking at the distinction between the EU and the Eurozone and thus reducing the power of the EU Commission to save the Eurozone – a second Europe within Europe, of which Britain was never a member. Schäuble attacked the ECB and Mario Draghi saying: “The ultralock money policy that exists in many regions is not helpful.” Schäuble said this opening on his trip to Washington. The ECB, Schäuble argues, is creating risks such as asset price bubbles with its negative interest rate policy. This is the clash of philosophies with Schäuble’s view on AUSTERITY.
Schäuble demanded a change of direction from Mario Draghi. He warned that Draghi was increasing the risk of creating a whole new crisis rather than lessening it. The Federal Reserve reverse course right after 2015.75 on the ECM that targeted October 1st, 2015 with the first rate hike in December 2015. Schäuble remarked that it “would not be a bad idea if the European Central Bank and other central banks followed” the course of the Fed. Schäuble has clashed with Draghi who still considers his stimulus quantitative easing policy of the ECB still necessary. Draghi said on this trip to Washington that a “very significant amount of monetary easing is still needed.”
Schäuble has also proposed that the basic structure of the Eurozone in the form of budgetary policy must be changed. Schäuble remains rightly concerned what happens when Draghi changes course and raises rates. Schäuble is deeply concerned that national debts will then explode with higher interest rates. For this reason, Schäuble wants the euro rescue umbrella ESM in the near future converted to a European Monetary Fund. Schäuble sees this as a European version of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). If a new aid program for a crisis country were to run without the IMF because the IMF has disagreed with the draconian measures imposed upon Greece. Schäuble wants to replace the IMF to impose austerity. Apparently, Schäuble has also convinced Chancellor Angela Merkel of this proposal since the IMF disagrees with the austerity ideas of Schäuble.
This new European Monetary Fund to replace the IMF, which is a member of the Troika, will then be given the task of budgetary monitoring of Eurozone countries. Therefore, we will have the EU, but a separate system within the EU for the Eurozone all based upon extending austerity. This is obviously a disempowerment of the EU Commission.
Greece is still an unsolved problem – and Schäuble also sees that Greece should exit the Eurozone. Schäuble also sees a better partnership with Russia and an emancipation from the USA. This was really based upon German manufacture having a new market to sell into given the rise of Donald Trump. Then Schäuble wanted a nuclear Europe to stand against America and Russia. Schäuble’s view is that the core of Europe is Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. It never included Britain. The Franco-German axis was to become the economic engine of the future. To Schäuble, the core is simply the Euro for that evens the playing field for Germany to sell products into Europe. He has embraced the Euro, but never accepting a federal debt for Europe. This is why he has never seen Italy, Spain or Greece as the core of the EU – just vassal states to sell products to.