The following German op-ed from Handelsblatt discusses the so-called “European Stabilization Mechanism”, a piece of fiscal legerdemain that would make even Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner blush.
Many thanks to JLH for the translation:
Only the APO Can Stop the ESM Now!
June 4, 2012
by Hans Olaf Henker
The law for the European Stabilization Mechanism (ESM) undermines our democracy. Initiatives against it are neither “rightist populist” nor “anti-European.” Respectable citizens back them.
Skiers know that merely skiing outside the course can unleash an avalanche. The extra-parliamentary opposition (APO) that is now taking shape against the ESM could also become a veritable avalanche of protest to topple the four columns of the Reichstag and bring its glass dome crashing down.
The ESM will not only irretrievably introduce the transfer and debt union at the expense of German taxpayers. We are also talking about a scandalous financial authorization intended to undermine our democracy. Here are four examples:
1. Since the ESM can independently and at any time raise its capital, it essentially cancels the budget-making rights of the German Bundestag. 2. Since the ESM can decide on financial aid to Eurozone countries without supervision, it will become the EU’s secret financial Politburo. 3. Since its “governors” can determine their own salaries, on which they pay no taxes, and which they need not make public, the ESM will become a self-service store that would make any banana republic proud. 4. It is fitting in this context that the actors are given complete legal immunity. As everyone knows, even our federal president does not have that.
Actually, the German Bundestag will agree with a great majority to its own disenfranchisement, and the so-called elites find that good, with the media leading the way. Instead of being scandalized by the deficiencies of the ESM, almost all the papers are targeting its critics. Since economic arguments for a long time — and recently political arguments — have been failing them, they resort to vilification. The critics, they say, are “Europe critics” (as if the euro were identical with Europe), “populists” (as if the ESM were a popular subject) and, if all that fails “rightist populists.” Given the rising number of initiatives against the ESM, and the personalities driving them, that could become more and more difficult:
- The “Alliance, Will of the Citizens” led by Bernd Luke has organized on the internet and is issuing invitations to protest actions on June 8 in Berlin and on June 16 in Karlsruhe.
- Beatrix von Storch has entered entered into a “Civil Coalition” with hundreds of thousands of like-minded people and made possible direct contact with representatives of the Bundestag (“RepresentativeCheck”).
- The initiative “More Democracy” is preparing a constitutional complaint which will be carried by, among others, a veritable ex-minister of justice, Hertha Däubler-Gmein.
- Markus Kerber is leading a group supported by family businesses — “Europolis” — with the intention of stopping the ESM.
Finally, a break in the party landscape to report: The Free Voters (Bavaria) are the only democratic party represented in a state legislature who have determined to fight the ESM.
These and any other initiatives are neither “right populist” nor “anti-European.” Behind them stand respectable citizens who will not accept our democracy being put at risk to save the euro.
Heinz Olaf Henkel, of Henkel Straight-Up. Born in 1940 in Hamburg, he is an author, an honorary professor at the University of Mannheim, was best known as president of the federal organization of German industry (BDI).