EU commissioner for economic affairs, Olli Rehn, & Herman van Rompuy: our EU Humpty Dumptys (People’s Movement)

Humpty Dumpty with Alice‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

– Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll

The EU commissioner for economic affairs, Olli Rehn, has blamed the growing euro crisis on the EU’s inability to communicate the merit of new bailout measures agreed in July, describing it as a major factor behind lack of market confidence in the euro zone.

“We all in Europe will have to ensure rigour in our communications and sufficient verbal discipline so that we ensure [that] our joint message will be listened to and understood in the way we want it to be understood,” he said. “If you look at so-called market forces, or market players and perceptions, what they are after: they are after making money, and that is driven by fear and greed.”

In his portrait of market psychology he stated that investors were “clearly unrealistic” in expecting the “technically complex” July bail-out deal to be implemented overnight. He also tried to dispel the idea that EU officials and member-state governments were lax in heading off for holidays before fully agreeing the details of the bail-out package.

An article by the president of the EU Council, Herman van Rompuy, went down badly when he said he was “astonished” by the surge in Italian and Spanish bond rates—a statement taken by analysts to mean that he simply failed to see it coming.

“Astonishingly,” he writes, “since our summit the cost of borrowing has increased again for a number of euro area countries. I say astonishingly, because all macro-economic fundamentals point in the opposite direction.”

Citing the austerity measures adopted in Italy and Spain, as well as Spain’s low debt, van Rompuy accused the markets of making risk assessments “totally out of line with the fundamentals.” Ratings agencies that downgraded the two countries also acted in a “ludicrous” way when putting them in the top tier of countries at risk of default, he claimed.

He omitted to mention that the Spanish prime minister last week called for early elections in November, faced with growing public anger over soaring unemployment, a factor that has been aggravated by the austerity measures. The true cause of market worries, in van Rompuy’s view, lies elsewhere: the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008 and the interdependence with the debt-stricken United States. “It is imperative to bear in mind that this is not a crisis about the euro,” he wrote.

Thankfully, he promised that in future he will communicate only “when there is something to communicate” about concrete developments on the implementation of the July deal.

But his own speech did not report anything new. Maybe their speech-writers are on holiday!

People’s Movement · 25 Shanowen Crescent · Dublin 9 · · 087 2308330 · post (at) people (dot) ie
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