Euro Cheerleader Now Calling for the Single Currency to Be Broken Up


Credit: James Steakley

Oskar Lafontaine, who was Germany's finance minister when the euro was adopted and once called for the "end of the nation state" and a "unified Europe," has called for the euro to be broken up. 

Writing on Germany's Left Party's website Lafonatine spoke out against what he calls the "German hegemony" that he thinks has been hurting some countries in the eurozone. French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici recently said that the era of austerity is over in Europe after the German finance minister said that he would be willing to be flexible on deficit reduction targets for France and Spain.

Today, Italy's new prime minister, who has spoken out against austerity, is in Spain, another country where politicians have been objecting to austerity. Last week, Italy and France both stood united against austerity, with French President Francois Hollande saying that austerity was "no longer enough."

Objections to the European single currency are nothing new to advocates of the free market. However, Lafontaine's recent comments are the latest example of how the some on the left want the euro to be broken up in order for countries in southern Europe to organize their own recovery without Germany's influence. 

It is difficult for any cohesive policy to be adopted in Europe without France and Germany being on the same page. At the moment French and German politicians are offering polices that differ on how to recover from the euro crisis. Because of the upcoming elections in September German policymakers are under extra pressure to make their case against the anti-austerity crowd in France, Spain, and Italy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently spoke to high school students in Berlin and said that it is often forgotten that there is a treaty that limits debt and budget deficits. Last month Merkel said that what some are calling austerity is actually only "balancing the budget," a refreshing dose of reality amid a debate on Europe's future that is oftentimes depressing and delusional in equal measure. 


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  1. Splitters!

  2. I think the Japanese may have been onto something. If this and every other crap weasel who fuck something big up were obligated to commit ritual suicide as the price of their mistake, their recantations would have a lot more effect.

    1. I don’t demand suicide. Just accountability.

      We could use a little more of the old aristocratic honor, where operating outside the bounds got you in trouble. “I say, that simply isn’t done, old man.”

      1. Yeah but these guys are so rich and powerful now, accountability just means going off into a comfortable retirement corrupting undergraduates and writing books.

        No suicide is the only way that some sins can be atoned form. Either you must die or justice must die.

        1. I’ve advocated ostracism here before. Not banishment, since that’s not necessarily a punishment these days, but a ban from government at any level in the U.S. It doesn’t solve all problems, but it would be better than what we have today.

          In fact, instead of implementing a federal recall system, I suggest ostracism. At any time, we can all vote to remove, say, the president. Sorry, time to go, and you can’t hold any office again for ten years.

          1. Ostracism would be good with a mild form of banishment. You are banned from working in government or education at any level and you are not allowed to live within 100 miles of any of the thousand largest cities in the world.

            No government and no world city living would kill them. Most of them would probably prefer suicide to living a quiet life in Springfield, Missouri.

            1. Good theory. But I can’t imagine a law or regulation providing for that kind of punishment would stand up in court.

              You MIGHT be able to keep them out of government service but not private universities.

              1. I’d be fine with a public sector ban.

          2. Abuse of power should be a capital offense. Period.

        2. In my mind one of the things that makes religion appealing is this notion that justice exists in an afterlife, because it doesn’t exist on this plane.

          1. No it really doesn’t. It does sometimes, but very rarely. And don’t think for a moment people like this feel any sense of guilt or remorse. Humans are far too clever at rationalizing for that to be true.

            1. The sad irony is that punishing injustice is one of the few legitimate functions of government, yet dealing out injustice is what governments do best.

              1. The lucky few of Stalin’s henchman who survived to old age lived quiet lives in Moscow in the 60s and 70s. Khrushchev, Molotov, and other lesser creatures, lived in nice homes, shopped in the party member stores and died quiet and content, if a bit ostracized and out of power. These people were guilty of some of the worst crimes in human history. And there were by all accounts completely not bothered and content in their old age beyond being dissatisfied they were out of power.

                If people can rationalize that, they can and will rationalize anything.

      2. I demand suicide.

  3. Italy and France both stood united against austerity, with French President Francois Hollande saying that austerity was “no longer enough.”

    For our French friends:

    Va te faire foutre, r?duire les d?penses.

    And for the Italians:

    Vaffanculo, ridurre le spese.

    1. And for the monolingual among us?

      1. You should learn to be a cunning linguist.

        1. We used to have one of those here. She had a PhD.

          In linguistics, I mean.

      2. FYTW.

      3. In American, you say it:

        Fuck you, cut spending.

        1. And the response:

          Nique-te, c’est pourquoi!

          I don’t know Italian….

          1. German: Fick dich, das ist warum.

        2. You know, Reason should do up some T-Shirts with the logo: FU Cut Spending!

  4. what some are calling austerity is actually only “balancing the budget,”

    Are the books even balanced at that?

    1. What some are calling balancing the budget is only reducing the continual increase in spending.


  5. All of the results of the Euro were incredibly obvious and predicted by the skeptics. Yet, these assholes did it anyway. And now they act shocked by the results.

    1. Let’s share a currency issued by a central bank and see what happens when governments using it continue to run deficit budgets! What could possibly go wrong?

      1. Lets put efficient thrifty countries like Germany and the UK on the same currencies with corrupt and spendthrift countries like Greece and Italy. Lets take away some of the biggest dead beat countries in the world ability to devalue their currency. What could possibly go wrong?

        1. I’m not sure if Germany is thrifty, but if the UK is thrifty it is the American kind of thrifty.

          1. Germany is very thrifty. They actually had hyperinflation and learned from it. And compared to Italy and Greece, the UK is plenty thrifty.

            1. That’s like being the smartest kid with down syndrome.

              1. Doesn’t matter. What makes the Euro so bad is the relative difference of the countries involved.

        2. UK doesn’t use the Euro. You are thinking of AU.

      2. And when the other stable currency (the pound) refuses to join in? How did anyone not see this as a disaster waiting to happen?

  6. “German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently spoke to high school students in Berlin and said that it is often forgotten that there is a treaty that limits debt and budget deficits.”

    A classic case of giving and inch, and getting taken for a mile. The debt limit requirements in that treaty were strict enough to be reasonably sustainable. During the previous decade, the southern european debtor countries were nowhere near these requirements, but France and Germany didn’t make much of a ruckus about it because times were good and they were a little out of compliance, themselves. Now, everyone in Greece knows deep in their bones that they’re entitled to a pony and they will break windows and burn cars if they aren’t given a pony. Why? They’ve been on the pony subsidy program for the better part of a decade! Who can even remember the days before free ponies?

    Had Germany started caring about enforcing those treaties in ’05 or ’06, we’d still have landed in the same general crisis, but perhaps the magnitude of it would have been lessened.

  7. “end of the nation state”

    Sounds good.

    and a “unified Europe,”

    Sounds bad.

    1. “In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the European Union will be reorganized into the first European Empire, for a safe and secure society which I assure you will last for ten thousand years.”

      1. Mickey Mouse has tauntauns coming out of his asshole.

    2. You know who else tried to unify Europe?

      1. Napoleon I?

    3. The last time Europe was truly unified as a political state was when? The 1940s?

  8. did anyone else notice the german finance minister has a french last name, the french finance minister has an italian name, and the italian finance minister has a german name?


    2. Say, that’s a brilliant idea. Let’s switch all of the governments around, randomly.

    3. Those Europeans all look the same to me.

  9. My good friend has turned in to a crystal waving, festival touring new age hippie in the past couple years. But it was hilarious this weekend when him and his girlfriend started talking about the government trying to depress the value of gold and lie about inflation while I just sat there stoned as fuck.

  10. in a world where the nation state has ended and Europe has unified, one man has the courage to stand alone…Oskar Lafontaine.

  11. Do Reason Cosmotarians object to “the death of the nation-state?”

  12. Rol ltaht beautiful bean footage!

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