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Business commentator sides with angry South Europeans

September 29th, 2012

Hungary’s main business daily carries pungent criticism of the restrictive policies Brussels is imposing on Southern Europe.

In Világgazdaság (VG), Balázs Wéber has serious doubts about Brussel’s claim that South Europeans only have themselves to blame for their current difficulties and thus have no grounds to protest against the budget cuts being introduced by their governments.

In a highly ironic piece, he portrays European Commission Chairman José Manuel Barroso sitting alone in his office and reconsidering his performance in the light of the recent furious demonstrations in Spain, Greece and his native Portugal.

Barroso puts one painful question after another to himself, without even trying to answer them:

– Why is the European project, based on the best of intentions, falling apart?

– Why do people shake their fists at Brussels in growing anger, instead of accepting that all these reforms and restrictions are designed to serve their own interests?

– Is it true that they have overspent for too many years and have only themselves to blame?

– Is it true that their refusal to accept today’s budget cuts only proves their lack of maturity, rather than the faulty nature of those measures?

– Is it fair to gradually pump out money from the pension system, from the health service and from public education, while being forced to pay increasing yields to market actors?

– Maybe they are taking to the streets not so much because of the budget cuts, but rather because they don’t believe that the present European leadership actually serves their interests?

Wéber ends his imaginary story with Barroso “waking up” and summoning IMF director general Christine Lagarde, EU finance commissioner Olli Rehn and ECB chairman Mario Draghi for an urgent meeting.

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