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Serbian talks and Euro shuts
by Thanos Kalamidas
2013-06-29 10:41:33
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The European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said at a Brussels EU summit that time has come for Serbia to start talks with the Union for a membership. And it is amazing that the European president said that while in a summit that focused in the never ending economic crisis. So there is a question here and has nothing to do with how ready Serbia is or if the time for the Balkan country has come but with the possibility that the European Union might not be ready.

With the beginning of the 21st century the EU moved to two radical moves, first establishing the common currency and then expanding to ten new countries. Competition/dependence to the American dollar for decades and the expansion of the European market globally led to the decision to expedite a strategic move for the future of the Union doing all the mistakes by the book with first to create a plan B and make sure that the countries that would join had strong economies to carry the weight.

Another mistake was to plan the new currency using as blue print one country – in this case Germany – hoping that the rest will follow or the German economy will be enough strong to pull them. The results a decade after are more than obvious. Both failed. Greece, Spain and Italy are not Germany and Germany is not strong enough for a variety of reasons to pull all of them the same time. Actually Germany overestimated her strength and the same time the strength of the others. And all that despite all the warnings. But that was a political decision supposedly taking in account all the risks.

The expansion to ten new countries was a political necessity with the new currency. The new currency needed a strong centre and an even stronger amount of satellites, future members, consumers and users of the new currency that would strengthen it internationally and the same time raise the demand. Again a political decision and this time ignoring the fact that most of these countries didn’t fulfil the necessary criteria the Union had established for every new member. Countries like Poland and Estonia or Hungary have still – more than a decade after – still serious problems with democracy, human rights, corruption and despite the virtual reality numbers want to show countries like Estonia and Poland shouldn’t have joined EU for at least another decade. Oddly Estonia is already using the euro while Poland declares ready to enter.

And to avoid misunderstanding I’m not leaving out of the equation Greece. Greece should not have join the Euro that moment and she joined out of political reason and just because the spirit at the moment was that the new currency needed a cultural and historic glamour and only Greece could offer that. And they took the political decision to invite Greece to the inner cycle knowing that Greece had a serious economic problem but the same time sure that they could deal with it when the time comes. What they missed was that Greece was not the only one because the same time Ireland for example was making success stories and headlines with the highest growth in Europe.

Cyprus is a different story; still what happened to Cyprus the last few months is a crime and an economic extermination. They all knew that Cyprus is holding a vast amount of offshore companies from the Arab countries and the new reality in Russia and in general east Europe. And yes the Cypriot banks served as money laundry but not as result of a crime but mainly as a safe and low tax haven. Actually Cyprus did for decades exactly the same Luxembourg – to stay in the EU boarders - still does and German or Dutch banks wish to do without any problem.

But it is easy to blame the obvious Greece and Spain for all the hell but was Italy or France ready? Actually no. None of them was ready at least accordingly to the German blueprint. The only country that was ready was Germany and perhaps her satellites Austria, Holland and Finland. Actually that was the reasons Britain and Sweden for example kept away from the experiment. For them it was the German Mark was becoming the pan-European currency under a new name. Unfortunately when the crisis came with Germany not giving the necessary political support on the contrary manipulating the crisis proved that the hypothesis for a pan-European German Mark was right.

And now in the middle of the crisis and far from her end the European Commission invited Serbia to start talks for a membership. A membership to what and where? And the tragic fact is that Serbia both wants and needs the membership.

Isolated for so many years the Serbian economy and society is dispirit for an opening and has done all the sacrifices demanded from them for two decades. Actually a whole nation has sacrificed their dignity paying the hardest way the crimes of a gang. The Serbians, victims themselves of Milosevic for two decades have been discriminated from the Europeans and the rest of the world as criminals despite their historic role to the foundations of this continent.

I have the feeling that is all about guilt. The EU masterminds felt that two decades were enough punishment for a nation who after all had done everything possible to escape the bad reputation even sacrificing their dignity so they thought ...let’s start talks for membership. And time we have, as Turkey has proved already. Let’s start talks for a decade or two. Let’s put our guilt at rest. The same time by talking about another expansion we inspire stability, security, the problems are over and growth is coming back. The markets need hope.

And the Serbians need much more, so much so they are ready to start this game knowing what’s going on but as I said before two decades of isolation and discrimination is too much for any nation. And not to forget that there are still UN forces in the country to keep peace. And all that while this nation sees everything around changing and is scared that it might be left back.

So Herman Van Rompuy said that talks with Serbia can begin and that after reinsuring everybody that the European banks are safe andlet’s see when the European Union will start talks with the homeless and unemployed of Spain, Greece, Portugal and the rest of Europe. 

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