The leader of Greece’s Orthodox Church warned on Thursday that rising poverty could trigger a “social explosion” amid deep austerity and record-high unemployment, as the country enters a fifth year of recession. “Homelessness and even hunger — phenomena seen during (World War Two) — have reached nightmare proportions,” Archbishop Ieronymos wrote in a letter to Papademos. “Patience among Greeks is running out, giving way to a sense of anger,” he said. “The medicine we are taking has proved fatal for the nation. More painful, and more unjust measures are now set to follow along the same, hopeless course.” The Greek church has stepped up a charity drive this week, during a cold snap that left much of the country in subfreezing temperatures and a growing number of homeless people at risk. Unemployment in Greece has surged to 19.2 percent, with the jobless rate for people under age 25 at 47.2 percent, according to figures for October from the EU statistics agency, Eurostat. The Washington Post, today.
In the meantime Mrs. Merkel is in China, as documented for example by this article. Where she is working, as she should, for promoting German exports like German leaders have done for the past 20 years and other euro nations have not, which perfectly explains the huge increasing divergence that has taken place in trade performance of ants (Germany?) and crickets (Greece?) in the euro area. Paradoxically, the more she goes to China while other euro leaders do not, the greater the chances that a euro break-up will occur as competitiveness divergence increases and devaluation of crickets will become inevitable.
She advertises her currency, the euro. She means well, trying to attract Chinese lending for a cash-thirsty euro area. She does that by trying to convince Chinese authorities that other euro members are making the right adjustments, of the recessionary kind, the ones Germany has been increasingly asking for.
She further acts as potential mediator between the Usa and China on the Middle East delicate scenario.
Mrs. Merkel has a conflict of interest. She pursues the German interest, while her bargaining position and her prestige is strengthened by the euro. She represents the euro, while imposing the view that its stability is protected by dubious German pro-austerity measures imposed on other euro counties.
But here is the catch. Her position in the world is weak, because she acts alone: she is therefore hardly credible when she speaks on behalf of the other euro countries. Her position would be strengthened if she were able to be perceived as representing the interests of all euro countries. But so it is: we are not united. And we are not united because we do not share together the pains of one another, like it should be in any Nation made of different states. We are not yet the United States of Europe. And if we are not the United States of Europe we can forget of its symbol, a unique currency.
Time is running out.