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In 1985 Delors became President of the European Commission, playing a crucial, indeed the crucial, role in establishing the European Monetary Union, the Eurozone, a quite extraordinary achievement, since it involved persuading the participating countries - including Germany which was the overwhelmingly dominant force in the existing European Monetary System, 'the snake', - to renounce control over their own currencies, perhaps the most important of all the prerogatives of national sovereignty. Essential to Delors' project was the establishment of a European Central Bank which would be independent of any political, governmental control, and charged with the sole mandate of ensuring price stability.

Previous arguments for a Central Bank - Werner Report, 1970; MacDougall Report, 1977 - had presupposed a pre-existing political union, but under the Delors scheme, the national governments retained a nominal sovereignty, including over fiscal policy, but without the right to issue or to manage their own currency. The Delors plan was drawn up by a committee which, at Delors' own suggestion, excluded economics and finance ministers, consisting only of the governors of central banks. Essential to the plan was the principle that the Bank would be prohibited from directly supporting member state governments in time of need, that the sole policy available to maintain price stability was the adjustment of interest rates, and that there would be full mobility of capital, not only among EU members but also between EU members and countries outside the EU, by 1992.

One might like to think that Delors, as a Socialist who had decided that Socialism was impossible at the national level because of the international mobility of capital, was building the Eurozone as a means by which capital would be brought under control at a supranational level. One might like to think that, having concluded that it would be impossible under present circumstances to establish a real functioning supranational political authority, he had created a supranational financial order which  would necessarily require a supranational political authority at some point in the future. It would be nice to think all that and indeed that is broadly what I was thinking at the time insofar as I gave it any thought at all. But the fact is that the existing structure is purposefully designed to render the state impotent with regard to developing its economy on anything other than strictly free market - nineteenth century classical economic - lines. To quote Noam Chomsky, speaking in December 2012: 'Europe's policies make sense only on one assumption: that the goal is to try and undermine and unravel the Welfare State.' The system came up sharply against its limitations with the 2008 crash and its aftermath.

I think most people would agree that the 2008 crash was a result of the incompetence and venality of the banking industry. But this in turn was a predictable result of the freedoms given the banking industry by the triumph of the economic theory we have just been discussing.What is extraordinary however is that the indignation naturally provoked by the crash and the demand for radical reform was rapidly overtaken by the disaster that, as an aftershock of the crash, was soon to overwhelm the so-called PIIGS countries, the 'peripheral' countries - Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, beginning with Greece. 

Initially adoption of the Euro had seemed to be of benefit to Greece. It was assumed that a Greek Euro was as good as anybody else's Euro, Germany's for example. A condition of joining the Euro was a certain ratio of national debt to GDP - 60%. For a gigantic fee however the firm of Goldman Sachs had arranged an accounting scam that enabled Greece to conceal the true, much larger, nature of its debt. I assume this was arranged by Goldman Sachs International which was led by a certain Brian Griffiths, Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach, a much honoured Welshman, former head of Margaret Thatcher's Number 10 Policy Unit and one of the chief advocates and architects of the 1980s deregulation of the British banking industry. I have a couple of articles about him and about his views on Christianity and financial matters on my 'British Values' website.

Because the Greek Euro was regarded as a sound currency, Greece easily attracted cheap loans which enabled it relatively easily to buy German exports, themselves relatively cheap owing to the policy of wage restraint implemented by Germany's Socialist Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The loans were largely borrowed from German banks, money the German banks themselves had largely borrowed from US banks. It was a scheme which seemed to be of benefit to everybody until the Greek economy tanked under the pressure of the Crash. From then on repaying these creditors - ultimately the US banks - became the sole concern allowed to the Greek government to the exclusion of any spending commitments it might choose to engage for the welfare of its own citizens. And the medicine was administered by the very banking industry that had been responsible for the Crash in the first place. In the case of Italy the very government was handed over to the technocrat Mario Monti, summoned from his position in Goldman Sachs by the Italian President, the ex-Communist Giorgio Napolitano. His fellow countryman, the Goldman Sachs technocrat Mario Draghi took control of the ECB.

Perhaps a word could be said here about Marxism, which dominated left wing thought in Europe in the post-war period - perhaps even in Germany where the Communist Party itself was banned. Marxism argued that the problems of the working class could not be solved within the framework of capitalism. Consequently, despite an often very perceptive analysis of the problems of capitalism, any policy to remedy those problems short of revolution was regarded as at best a distraction, at worst a variety of Fascism. A certain expertise could be developed in trade union affairs, in local government administration and in cultural matters but not in overall government policy. Hence when revolution appeared impossible and the model provided by the Soviet Union first appeared to be morally discredited (Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, Solzhentisyn's Gulag Archipelago in 1973-4), then collapsed, there was nothing left to hold on to except perhaps the idea that capitalism left to its own devices would collapse of its own accord. Consequently little to do other than watch and analyse the continued evolution of capitalism. Those like Napolitano who had a taste for political power could do little more than facilitate that continued evolution following an understanding of it developed by comrades who had regarded it as essentially destructive.