Caught between a Eurosceptic rock and a hard place

A new dilemma for David Cameron.

On the one hand, he will want to make a show of objecting to the EU using the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism [for which the UK would most likely be on the hook] to provide bridging finance for Greece, because he is, to some extent, forced to do this by the Eurosceptic wing of his party.

On the other, if he tries too hard, he may lose allies in the European Union that would have previously helped him deliver some kind of EU reform that could be sold to moderate Tory Eurosceptics before a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.  Precipitating chaos in his own party and many campaigning for a ‘No’.

Presumably, this is a policy dilemma that will be repeated over and over.

As a Europhile, it’s disappointing to think that the UK would object to helping Greece through these means.

Those against might argue that the root cause of Greece’s troubles is the design of the Eurozone institutions, not something the UK was responsible for.  So why should we pay?  But that we had the choice of not joining is arguably just our collective good fortune in inheriting a long history of relatively stable monetary, financial and legal institutions.  For the UK, unlike Greece, we could weigh relatively cosmetic arguments like those in the ‘Five Tests’ document.  For Greece, joining was a way to secure the final leg on the journey to economic and political modernity.

And, stepping back, the cause of this crisis is the profession-wide failure to apprehend and control risks in the financial system.  And the UK was at the forefront of that particular blindness.

 

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One Response to Caught between a Eurosceptic rock and a hard place

  1. blenheim says:

    “And, stepping back, the cause of this crisis is the profession-wide failure to apprehend and control risks in the financial system. And the UK was at the forefront of that particular blindness.”

    Hmmm – the cause of the Greek crisis was a chronically unstable fiscal position and the associated explosive debt dynamics in the 2000s. If there hadn’t been a financial crisis, some other recession would have exposed the same vulnerabilities.

    Completely agree with you about Cameron’s dilemma though. Though I suspect that many Tory Euroskeptics will cry “betrayal” whatever Cameron achieves, so perhaps he should just ignore them.

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