In the Irish Times, Paddy Woodworth notes an all-too-familiar tale of political chutzpah in Europe [Nevermind closer to home! – Ed]. This time it’s the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and his spin on that ‘magic bullet’. From the Irish Times report
The total reversal of his oft-stated conviction that no EU money was needed by the Spanish banks became the vindication of his strategic abilities.
Flying in the face of well-documented alternative accounts of events, he insisted that it was he who had persuaded his European colleagues to adopt his ideas, and not the other way around.
He was quite explicit to journalists about the need for subterfuge in democracy. “That is how these things are done,” he said.
“Negotiations are not broadcast or televised. You sometimes ask us things we cannot tell you.”
The bluster was oddly reminiscent of the tone of Brian Cowen’s government at a similarly grim moment in Irish politics. Rajoy even borrowed a very familiar phrase: “We are where we are.”
This prompted a leading Spanish political blogger, Fernando Garea, to comment: “These are empty, senseless phrases, an abuse of language. They are impossible to contradict. You cannot say, for example, ‘We are where we aren’t.’”
As for the European Project’s democratic deficit…
A timely point to recall, again, those historical references – “Rome wasn’t built in a day and it didn’t fall in a day either…“
Adds From the Guardian’s eurozone crisis live-blog
German chancellor Angela Merkel said there would be conditions attached to Spain’s banking bailout.
Speaking in Berlin, she said European states must be prepared to give up [more] national sovereignty and stressed that liability and control have to go together, prompting some wry comments on Twitter.
Merkel says better EU banking supervision requires giving up more national supervision……(not included in line is…to Germany)
She also reiterated her opposition to eurobonds (where debt issued by one eurozone country would be underwritten by all 17) saying “simply borrowing” is not the answer to solving the euro debt crisis. Discussing eurobonds would push Europe down the wrong path, she said, and potentially create an even worse disaster.
[Full speed ahead, and damn the
torpedoes political trilemma! – Ed] Indeed.