Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What the European union means now

When the European Union was founded, it was supposed to bring peace and democracy to Europe. Fifty years on, and it means teargas, stun grenades, and the transformation of a city into a police state as the EU's de facto leader visits one of her de facto vassal states:

Greek police have used teargas and stun grenades to halt angry protesters in central Athens who tried to break through a barrier and reach the visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators defied a ban on protests to voice their displeasure with the German leader, who many blame for forcing painful cuts on Greece in exchange for two bailout packages worth more than €200 billion.


Some 6,000 police officers were deployed, including anti-terrorist units and rooftop snipers, to provide security during the six-hour visit. German sites in the Greek capital, including the embassy and Goethe Institute, were under special protection.

All of which costs money. If the Germans want to lecture Greece about borrowing, then perhaps they should stop imposing costs on Greeks by visiting.

The Guardian reports quarter of a million protesters. That's the depth of the hatred Germany has generated through its financial demands. And if Greece remains even remotely democratic - something the Greek government realises is now in doubt - this German-imposed austerity is going to poison EU relations for decades to come.