Why Wilders is Right About the Euro

Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan has translated an article about the euro, one that acknowledges that Geert Wilders was right all along. This is interesting not just in itself — it’s a sensible, cogent analysis of the mess highlighted by today’s referendum in Greece — but also because it acknowledges that Geert Wilders was right. For the Dutch left-wing press, that’s an amazing admission.

The translator sends this brief note:

This is a very important article, as it was written and published in the Volkskrant. They hate Wilders the most.

It’s like a religious dogma: first they deny it.Then they prosecute the adherents. And finally they accept it as their very own dogma…

The translated essay from Volkskrant:

Why Wilders is right about the euro

The euro is not controlled by anyone

A weak economy got the chance to live wildly over budget. The currency union is a failure, so much is obvious, said Yvonne Hofs. No other option remains than to abandon that currency.

Yes, you’ve read it: this will be an essay read with sincere pleasure by the PVV leader. For years Wilders called the euro a bantling. He also stated Germany and The Netherlands are better off with the Guilder and the Deutschmark. Both statements are true. However, since Wilders — being a populist and right wing politician — said it, these arguments are rejected by the so called ‘better-educated part of the population’ almost without any thought, as nonsense.

For euro-supporters it’s a blessing that euro-skepticism by definition is seen as the ‘wrong’ opinion. Nonetheless, euro-skepticism is simply a matter of common sense. The euro is a bantling, because nineteen (let alone even more) very different economies, political cultures and independent states cannot share a common currency without enormous political and economic sacrifices.

Supporters of Greece and the euro ignore political and economic realities. They seem to be obsessed with a naïve belief in progress, where rough power politics plays no part. In real life that sort of politics does play a role, and a crucial one at that.


The USA let California go bankrupt in 2009 when that state couldn’t pay its bills. Even in a federal state it’s not obvious the capital has to bail out a ‘province’.

The pro-euro argument is riddled with fallacies. One often used is that the Randstad (the area with the major cities in Holland and Utrecht, including the capital) subsidizes Limburg. Therefore, why shouldn’t The Netherlands and Germany subsidize Greece? Simply: because Limburg cannot accrue unlimited debts at the expense of the Randstad. Limburg cannot issue state bonds.

Greece is an independent nation that can decide to organize the Olympics and borrow the required €9 billion. In the monetary union as it stands today, Greece has no incentive to control its public debt. As long as Greece remains within the euro it can borrow money much more easily than it could outside the euro. Creditor institutions know their claims can eventually be collected from Germany.

That’s why the interest on the Greek public debt (as well as those of Italy, Spain and Portugal) went down when those countries joined the euro. The debts of euro countries are implicitly guaranteed by Germany. The euro has the perverse effect that weak euro nations can cheaply acquire debt, because a default would be paid for by the strong euro nations.

No discipline

The Greek public debt is so high that it cannot be paid back ever, regardless of budget cuts. Moreover, these budget cuts damage the Greek economy. The Troika, and notably the IMF insist on economic reforms, such as more efficient tax collection and the raising of the retirement age. These reforms would take time, but would really strengthen the Greek economy. However, consecutive Greek governments haven’t been able to implement them. Whether they are unwilling or impotent is irrelevant. What does matter is the fact that Greece, even after a debt remission, remains a weak economy. Inevitably they will again spent well above budget to maintain their standard of living.

Being a member of the eurozone allows Greece to once again build up enormous debts, go bankrupt after X years, and pass the bill on to Germany. There is no reason at all to assume Greece will follow budgetary discipline should they be bailed out now. The electoral mandate of Greece comes down to: ‘We, the Greek nation, decided democratically that you, the other European nations, have to pay off our debts.’

Debt relief for Greece? Yes, but only on condition the country abandons the euro. Everyone knows a debtor never learns from his mistakes if he always is bailed out by someone else.

Billion loans

Moreover, the Greek debt problem was started by the Greeks themselves. The oft-repeated assertion that Greek financial relief was used only to save the European banks is incorrect. It was the Greeks who entered into these loans. The billions provided by ABN-AMRO to Greek state companies were used to finance the 2004 Olympic equestrian stadium. That hippodrome is now crumbling away in idleness. ABN-AMRO loaned even more money to Greek public transport companies, well known for their high salaries, corruption and horrifying inefficiency. Those highly unprofitable state companies could borrow cheaply because the Greek Government guaranteed the loans. That Greek state guarantee subsequently blended into a state guarantee of other euro nations, notably Germany.

In 2009, when the Greek debt crisis emerged for the fist time, a major portion was owed to foreign banks, mostly German and French. That’s why leaders of government were afraid the Greek debt crisis might lead to a financial crisis all over Europe from the domino effect. That was certainly a consideration for the first Greek bailout package deal.

European banks got rid of their Greek national debts. Most of the debt is now owned by the euro nations themselves, the ECB and the IMF. If we’re talking about banks only, the Troika could have dropped Greece a long time ago. However, the Troika is still working on a deal. Greece benefits from this emergency relief fund. Other nations pay their outstanding bills. That outstanding bill arose because the Greeks lived for ten years well above their financial means. They could do that because of the euro.


That’s not to say Greece is the only problem for the euro, and everything will be fine when we get rid of Greece. Euro-supporters claim the euro brought wealth and prosperity, but that has never been convincingly proved. The benefits of the euro are dwarfed when compared to those of the European Union. Most research stressing the benefits of the euro have been commissioned by European institutions such as the European Commission. Hardly unbiased, in other words…

Nevertheless, those highly biased researches “proving” the benefits of the euro are taken much more seriously than the British Lombard investigation commissioned by the PVV. Part of the criticism of the (just as biased) PVV research was justified, because the actual costs and benefits of the euro are very difficult to calculate. Lombard Street was the first to accept the costs of structural financial transfers by Germany and The Netherlands to the southern euro countries in their calculations.

Independent research on the benefit of the euro shows a small positive effect on European commerce. However, those investigations only paid attention to the profits, not to the costs, and only looked at data of the period preceding the euro crisis. Only during that crisis did it become clear that the eurozone is revealing itself as a financial transfer union, which is proving to be very expensive for strong euro countries. The former German employers’ union BDI chairman Hans-Olaf Henkel changed from a enthusiastic advocate into a fierce opponent for that reason.

Henkel admits Germans industrials like himself were at first in favor of the euro, because nations such as Italy and Spain could not devalue their currencies anymore. German exporters suffered a lot from the constant devaluation of the Lira or the Peso against the German Mark. We simply cannot compete against that, they grumbled. This seems to proof the point of the euro-supporters.

Ironically, it actually proved that Italy for a large part depended on devaluation to keep their economy competitive. Since this is no longer possible, it’s falling further behind Germany. This in turn necessitates structural financial transfers from Germany. The euro didn’t benefit either country. The advantages of a weak euro for German export shouldn’t be exaggerated. When the Deutschmark was rock solid, German industry did very well. According Henkel, the strong mark forced German industry to extra innovation and better productivity. Most Germans didn’t want to give up their the Deutschmark. France demanded it in exchange for French cooperation with the unification of Germany.

Budget cuts and reforms

The euro can only survive under a Brussels dictatorship or oligarchy. Is that what euro-supporters really want?

To keep the euro, weak economic euro nations must face protracted budget cuts and reforms. There is no electoral support for that in those countries. To keep the euro, strong economic euro nations must deliberately weaken their economy or accept they have to forever transfer billions to the weaker economies. There is no electoral support for that in those countries either. The third option for keeping the euro is to merge all euro countries together into one United States of Europe.

An economic union is not possible without a political one. Economists said that time and time again long before the euro officially began its life. However, based on political-opportunistic reasons, this economic truism was ignored.

Should the eurozone after all become one nation with one government? That would prevent Greece incurring debts at the other nations’ expense. There is one problem with this solution: The people of the euro nations don’t want it. They REALLY don’t want it. Supposing today a referendum were to be held on that subject, t would be rejected with an overwhelming majority.

Conclusion: as long as the eurozone remains a democracy, the euro is doomed. The euro can only survive under a Brussels dictatorship or oligarchy. Do the euro supporters really want that? The urge to found smaller independent nation states is very strong in Europe. Catalonia wants to secede from Spain; so do the Basques. When Yugoslavia became a democracy, the federation split into smaller nations. Czechoslovakia fell apart. The Soviet Union fell apart. All this happened with less cultural difference than those within the eurozone countries. The cosmopolitan elites who carry ‘the European project’ vastly underestimate the importance of cultural differences. There is no European identity, and even Jean-Claude Juncker cannot create one by simply waving a bunch of European flags.


As long as talking about the end of the euro remains taboo, the end will be chaotic. The European Union was created to promote peace in Europe, and the euro should have merged European economies together ‘automatically’. The opposite has happened. The euro magnified the cultural and economic differences. The Euro crisis led to distrust amongst the member nations, envy, accusations and sometimes outright anger.

Euro-supporters try to scare their opponents by depicting something that will occur in any case as Armageddon. What they do is postpone the inevitable. They say that merely discussing the topic will create panic on the national stock exchanges. Let alone implementing it.

As long as debating about the demise of the euro remains a taboo, the end will be chaotic indeed. It’s much wiser to prepare for the inevitable and go for a controlled breakup of the euro. The plans for how to do that are there. Euro-skeptic economists propose parallel currencies in a transitional phase. The euro wasn’t introduced in one day, nor can it be abolished in one. And it won’t be gratis.

However, the costs of that for the strong economies such as those of Germany and The Netherlands will be much lower than eternally transferring billions to the south, a chaotic collapse of the European house of cards, or a new war between European states. A historic blunder should never be Hobson’s choice or irreversible. Wilders is completely right about that.

13 thoughts on “Why Wilders is Right About the Euro

  1. One economic issue that this leaves out is military defense. While Greece seems to expect Germany to pay its bills, Germany (for example) expects the U.S. to pay most of its military defense bill.

    The lack of willingness in Europe to defend Europe is evident from this: http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/2015/06/has-the-us-undermined-european-self-reliance.html

    Historically, the U.S. seems to be happy to go along with this as long as the U.S. gets to call the shots. The Europeans love the cost savings, and they get to sit around and condemn the U.S. for being evil warmongers while they brag about how peaceful and morally superior they are for spending money on welfare rather than weapons. After all, what could be more morally superior than expecting someone else to kill people on your behalf rather than doing it yourself?

    Only a United States of Europe would change any of this, and I agree that it’s never going to happen. Emigration between European countries might make it more likely, but third world Muslim immigration makes it even less likely.

  2. Its nice to see common sense being accorded its due. However, this writer only hints at the motivations of the oligarchs at the helm of the EU. What they really want is not the US of Europe but the Soviet Union of Europe, with their own political class elected again and again to dictatorial office. A vignette of their intentions is provided by their disparaging political (not economic) view of Israel as the Rogue nation of the Middle East. This despite the fact that Israel is politically the most European nation of the middle East and economically the Holland of Europe.

  3. I’m glad the euro zone countries are in difficulty,hopefully soon normal service will resume,Germany will go back to the deutsche mark,Netherlands the guilder,France the franc,everyone will fall out and the borders will be put up three fold.
    Obama must be tossing and turning in his sleep knowing that Greece could leave the Euro zone and reinstall its border guards,for as we all know Greece has been a great staging post for the muslim invasion of Europe

  4. Silence the heretic! Burn her at the stake! Wilder’s is a racist and an extremerightwinger, so it is axiomatic that he can’t offer a correct assessment of any issue.

    I think what’s happened here is that Yvonne Hofs is in fact an extremerightwinger and a racist who carefully hid her opinions as she insinuated herself into journalism then into Volksrant as a kind of fifth columnist. Then just when the Greek debt crisis has reached a tipping point and the EU is facing its most serious challenge to date, she has shown her hand as an opponent of the Euro. And much worse, revealed that she is a Wilders supporter.

    Could somebody please find something she has done to warrant charging her with hate speech? Could some Muslima please step forward and claim that Hofs tried to tear her burka off?

  5. The reasons for the Euro were so that capital can more easily transfer around Europe, thus reducing frictional losses incurred from the need to calculate conversion ratios and interest rates with dozens of variables all depending on national borders. It was an idea to improve the business climate of Europe both intra-European and extra-European. By improving financial intercourse in this region of the world it was thought that its comparative advantage with respect to America and Asia and Africa would improve and that European wealth would increase.

    I do not see any reason why this cannot continue if it is deconstructed. Just as in our federal system. Individual borrowers who develop poor repayment histories must be allowed to suffer difficulties in securing loans. Their yields must be allowed to rise vis a vis other borrowers. Interest rates do not have to be uniform, The can vary depending upon the demand for, and supply of, local Euros. European countries that are not productive are not going to receive capital infusions from world investors. They will not have the same. standard of living of those that are productive and vice versa.

    Imagine all those countries whose currencies are pegged to the dollar. They can do well financially or poorly, depending upon the energies of their people. The dollar as a unit of value doesn’t cause an egalitarian result. The Euro can remain in Greece and Italy and Portugal and Ireland, etc., and they can hammer their own future with it. Yet, justice can exist and remain in the banks and pocketbooks of the highly productive folks in Germany. The solution it seems to me is that the EU has to allow local conditions to affect loan yields and interest rates and that those local citizens have to live with these consequencies. Of course, political power may have to change to allow this. But this does not seem very difficult. They have to accept that being in the Euro does not mean that everyone is going to have the same standard of living.

    • @William Palmer

      Capitol was already moving freely before the euro. I believe the single currency was originally set up where sovereign nations were supposed to retain control of it. That changed, especially after the Lisbon Treaty and it enabled the Brussels collective to gain more control of the member states who foolishly took on the euro. Once you remove a country’s currency you remove their spine.

  6. Having a referendum on fiscal reforms in Greece is like asking a child if he/she wants to go to the dentist. The Greek government dropped the ball twice — first by living beyond its means and then by shirking responsibility for making the necessary reforms. Now, the government is talking about the “humanitarian” implications of the debt crisis. What about the humanitarian need for a bit of self-discipline?

    Greece must work toward living within its means. The richer nations can be a short-term buffer, but not a sugar-daddy for an irresponsible sibling.

  7. It is like always: There are people in Europe, they want to get advantage of the EURO
    and Greece is one of them. They were never be able and also not willing to pay what they owe. “Geert” is right, bring back the Deutschmark and the Gulden, if it is possible.
    I also don’t know, what Angela Merkel wants to change? She can not change the Government in Greece or the people. It is a joke, unfortunately a bad one.

  8. It takes two to tango. The German and European CB’s knew full well that Greece was a very bad risk for loans, very bad. Yet they went ahead anyway. The same with Italy and Spain.

    And if they didn’t perform due diligence the banks deserve to be chainsawed for their stupidity.

    Oddly enough what they did, reminds me of the American banks did under Bush giving out all those NINJA(No Interestt, No Job and assets) loans to the tune of trillions so people who had no business getting a home could do so.

    The ECB’s deserve no sympathy, you don’t give loans to what amounts to a already bankrupt country. Let the banks die and hope it takes Merkel and the EU with them.


    This is how capitalism works. The fact that it took a democratically elected government whose own offices are adorned with posters of Lenin, Engels and Guevara to teach this lesson to Germany is astonishing.

    More astonishing still is that Merkel et al knew Greece could not pay back this debt before these negotiations started. The IMF’s own assessment of Greek debt, published just a few days ago, states: “Coming on top of the very high existing debt, these new financing needs render the debt dynamics unsustainable …”

    Thought this article was an interesting PoV.

  10. It’s easy to assume the moral high ground and point out the deficiencies in the Greek economy and culture and claim that the Greeks are solely and collectively responsible for the unfolding disaster. I agree with other commenters, the fault lies with the NW European bankers and their reckless loan policies and the hare-brained Euro currency project.

    The Greek economy has contracted by 25% and that’s indicative of a depression as severe as the Great Depression of the 1930s, many people are living hand to mouth. I doubt that they’re the same individuals who benefited from the loan largesse. Most likely some compromise will be achieved and all the cracks papered over by the Eurocrats, the only civilised solution is to write off the loans.

  11. The EU elites are also responsible for continuing to sell out the European peoples to the OIC with their Barcelona Processes and North South Alliances, and engineering the flood of illegal aliens to overwhelm the national cultures and their welfare systems. Would that the EU’s demise aid in Western Europe’s salvation from this elitist Islamization.

  12. The euro, like the dollar IS controlled by someone: international money traders.

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