Europe’s biggest problem is that it seems to expect taxpayers to pay for bank speculation. This is a problem with three aspects: the dominance of banks, the European Union and German chancellor Angela Merkel.
It would undoubtedly be possible to preserve the euro without destroying the welfare state and democracy in the countries of the south. However, the prerequisite for this would be the implementation of central demands of the Left Party: it would require a reduction in the debts of the crisis-hit countries, an end to the imposition of cuts, and the launch of substantial investment programmes instead. Domestic demand would need to be drastically boosted in countries such as Germany, and this would require significant wage increases. A minimum wage of ten euros would need to be introduced, the power of the trade unions strengthened, and the socially unjust Agenda 2010 "reforms" repealed. And even once all of these measures were implemented, the imbalances in the eurozone would probably still be so great that transfers from strong regions to structurally weak regions would be necessary for a time.
A storm is brewing in Southern Europe. In Greece on November 6 and 7 another general strike will take place. On November 14 Portuguese, Cypriot, Spanish and Italian trade unions intend to go on strike in opposition to the austerity policies of the European Union. Belgian and British trade unions, as well as the European and German trade union confederations, are also calling for action. If the mobilization is successful, this transnational strike will be a milestone in the formation of a European protest movement desperately needed to prevent the final demolition of the European welfare states.
German Left Party Vice-President Wagenknecht on wage repression in Germany and the European Stability Mechanism
Today, our European discourse is built on lies. Has Greece really been aided? […] If Greece had declared itself insolvent back in May 2010, the financial sector and private investors would have suffered big losses, and European taxpayers would have suffered small losses. With every tranche of credits that has been approved under the purported aid scheme for Greece, the potential losses to the financial sector and private investors have become smaller, and the potential losses to European taxpayers have become larger. As early as 2010, it was clear that Greece's debts and the interest payments due on them were far too high for there to be any possibility of their being serviced over the long run. But every month by which the aid packages have delayed sovereign default in Greece has been advantageous for the banks, hedge funds and speculators. With every passing month, interest has been received that would otherwise not have been paid, and bonds have been redeemed that would otherwise have been worthless.
At a late hour on Friday 29 June 2012, the Bundestag took two far-reaching decisions. The so-called European Stability Mechanism (ESM), better known as the bailout fund, as well as the Fiscal Pact, a treaty modelled on the socially regressive German "debt brake" law and a blueprint for social service and public sector cutbacks in Europe, were up for vote. 491 Bundestag members voted for the ESM, 111 voted against it, and 6 members abstained. 493 members voted for the Fiscal Pact, 106 voted against it, and 5 abstained. Only the Bundestag members of the Die Linke party voted unanimously against these anti-social legislative packages. Because the Fiscal Pact is irrevocable and compels governments to implement a harsh policy of savings, these decisions set the course in Europe toward permanent reductions in social spending that will undoubtedly result in cutbacks to public services and the privatization of public property. At the same time, the ESM will make available massive amounts of money to safeguard the interests of banks and the wealthy. In her speech in the plenum Sahra Wagenknecht assailed the federal government for a policy that is driving all of Europe into ruin, and she directly addressed the Chancellor: "You are not saving the euro, but rather you are saving the euros of the millionaires."
Because no elected government would stand a chance of revoking this policy, I will vote against the ratification