Growing Europe-wide Opposition to ‘Austerity Treaty’

The Troika are currently back in Ireland to conduct another of their
quarterly assessments to determine if austerity is being efficiently
dispensed.  Fine Gael Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, is
confident that it is, bleating that he “expects Ireland will have met
all its targets…” in that respect.  It is of little surprise
therefore that one of the Troika partners, the IMF, are so full of
praise for Irish policy makers, whose implementation of the
recommended austerity policies they deem a success, so far.

Despite the empty rhetoric, and with the Spanish debt bomb about to
detonate, it is clear to all that the political project, known as the
Euro, is doomed, and the only question that remains is whether its
demise will be a chaotic one or something more orderly.  Various
efforts throughout Europe are beginning to converge and gather steam
to try to ensure the latter outcome.

In Ireland, with the referendum scheduled for 31st May, the fight is
really on.  For example, Tom Pringle, independent TD, has initiated a
legal challenge against the government with respect to both the ESM
Treaty and the Fiscal Compact Treaty.  He stated that he “is of the
opinion that both treaties raise serious legal difficulties both at
the level of EU treaty law and Irish Constitutional law.”

Further, he asks “What if a majority of voters in the May referendum
on the fiscal compact vote in favour of imposing permanent austerity
rules on the country in order to get access to a proposed permanent
euro zone loan fund only to discover that the treaty to establish that
fund is illegal under EU law and unconstitutional in Ireland and may
never in fact come into force.”  The full statement can be found on
Tom Pringle’s website

Also, following a series of incisive statements by the party against
the government’s austerity policies and urging a No vote in the
upcoming referendum, Sinn Féin spokesperson, Peadar Tóibín, made a
further, powerful address in the Dail, contrasting the Irish
Government’s embrace of austerity policies with how Roosevelt had
rescued the US from the Great Depression through the New Deal.  He

“The Austerity Treaty will not solve the Eurozone crisis nor will
it fix the Irish economy…

“History demonstrates that if the United States was signed up to
this treaty in the great depression Roosevelt’s New Deal would not
have seen the light of day and the United States would not have been
lifted out of the great depression.”

“If this government is comfortable with the idea of becoming
provincial administrators accountable to Brussels then let them be
honest. But that is not the vision of Sinn Féin. It was never the
vision of Collins, Pearce or Connolly.”

Read the full text of his statement here

In Greece, which has borne the brunt of the Troika’s brutality, the
population’s rage against foreign creditors and their lackeys is at
boiling point.  This became very apparent at Easter, the most
important holiday in Greece, when the Greek Orthodox Church, from
priests to bishops, delivered strong messages of defiance and of
resistance to foreign occupation and repression.  For example, in a
dramatic speech on Good Friday, following the procession of the
Epitaph, the head of Corinth’s Metropolitan Church made an unequivocal
declaration of resistance.

“We have to show that we are Hellenes of Christian Orthodox faith,
and when we show this, we should not be afraid of anyone. It doesn’t
matter if the enemy is powerful and if the enemy is rich. Anything the
enemy says, even if it threatens us, we should not be afraid. We will
not kneel to anyone that wants to impose themselves on us, or that
wants to destroy us; that wants to exploit us; that wants to claim our
lives and our souls. And even if they use trickery no one will make us

Snap elections have been called for May 6th in Greece and with the
fracturing of political parties in response to the Troika imposed
austerity policies, no clear majority or consensus is expected and the
country may well emerge as ungovernable.

In Germany, several legal challenges against the ESM immediately after
its passage by the Bundestag on May 25 and by the Bundesrat on June
15, will be filed: the Linke party, Bundestag CSU member Peter
Gauweiler, and now also  undestag SPD member Herta Daeuble-Gmelin will
take the issue to court. That alone will however not stop the fund
from going into effect, only a temporary restraint order that would
ban the government from paying any money into the fund before a court
ruling on the complaints, could achieve that. But so far, none of the
individuals and groups opposing the ESM have given indication of
planning to get such a TRO from the court.  The announcement by
Daeubler-Gmelin, that she will be the legal representative of a
complaint to be filed by the “More Democracy” (Mehr Demokratie) group,
has a particular weight, since she is a former minister of justice
(under Chancellor Schroeder), therefore has a status which the court
could not easily treat with disrespect—as it has done with most other
complaints on the bailout issue.
The plaintiffs in the alliance “More Democracy”,  will file a legal
complaint at the Court sometime in June, after the parliamentary votes
in Bundestag (May 25) and Bundesrat (June 15.)

Similar legal challenges are now developing in Spain, which as we have
already mentioned, is about to blow up financially.  The predictable
smoke and mirrors job around today’s sale of ten year Spanish bonds
can only briefly delay the inevitable.

In Austria, the Greens have threatened to block the eurozone’s
permanent bail-out mechanism unless there is progress on an EU-wide
tax on financial transactions.

Italy’s former Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti has labeled the
technocratic Monti government a failure and called for a separation of
banks along Glass Steagall lines.  Further impetus for a Glass
Steagall banking reform is reflected in two recent bills introduced to
the Senate and Chamber of Deputies.

Glass Steagall is also prominently on the agenda in France, where
Jacques Cheminade is capturing the imagination of many with his bold
presidential campaign platform – “A World Without the City or Wall
St.”  Cheminade details six key policy objectives that he would
implement if elected, as follows:

1. Banks must be cut in two in order to break open the financial
lock, just as was done at the Liberation [of France after World War

2. Declare the investment banks bankrupt that bet and lost.

3. Create a National Bank to invest in public infrastructure,
schools, hospitals, laboratories, and small and medium-sized
entrepreneurial companies.

4. Build a Europe of the Fatherlands to fight financial feudalism.

5. Give ourselves the means to populate the world, with the aid of
nuclear physics.

Cheminade campaign website

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