Οι τεκτονικές πλάκες της Ευρώπης, η κρίση και οι στρατηγικές ισορροπίες

Ενόψει Ευρωεκλογών οι συζητήσεις σε όλα τα κράτη εντείνονται και οι αντιθέσεις για το μέλλον της ευρωπαϊκής ολοκλήρωσης βαθαίνουν. Το κείμενο του Stratfor που ακολουθεί είναι συναφές με το δοκίμιο του Καθηγητή Παναγιώτη Ήφαιστου που αναρτήσαμε πρόσφατα με τίτλο «Οι στρατηγικές σεισμικές πλάκες στα θεμέλια της ΕΕ και η Βρετανία» και με την εισήγηση συνεδρίου «Το Γερμανικό ζήτημα». Αρκεί να διαβάσουμε την εξής παράγραφο πιο κάτω από το κείμενο του Stratfor: «Η πολιτική αστάθεια στην Γαλλία και Ιταλία είναι βαθιά συνδεδεμένη με (εθνικές) ιδιομορφίες και ιδιαιτερότητες, πλην η ΕΕ παίζει, επίσης, κεντρικό ρόλο. Οι κεντροαριστερές κυβερνήσεις στο Παρίσι και στην Ρώμη βρίσκουν τους εαυτούς τους παγιδευμένους σε νομικές-διοικητικές δομές που περιορίζει τα περιθώρια δράσης τους. Πολιτικοί και ακαδημαϊκοί σε όλη τη ήπειρο ασκούν κριτική για τα όρια του χρέους, τα ελλείμματα και του πληθωρισμού. Γιατί, ερωτούν, είναι ο στόχος για τον πληθωρισμό 3 αντί ας πούμε 5; Γιατί η Κεντρική Ευρωπαϊκή Τράπεζα θέτει ένα όριο για πληθωρισμό αντί για την ανεργία; Αλλά αυτοί οι περιορισμοί και τα όρια δεν μπορούν να αλλάξουν χωρίς επίσημη διαπραγμάτευση των Συνθηκών της ΕΕ – κάτι που δεν θα συμβεί στην παρούσα πολιτική συγκυρία».

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Όπως υποστηρίχθηκε στις προαναφερθείσες αναρτημένες αναλύσεις η ΟΝΕ αποτέλεσε ένα άλμα στο κενό σε στιγμές στρατηγικής αβεβαιότητας την περίοδο 1989-1992. Πάνω από ένα διαφοροποιημένο κοινωνικό περιβάλλον διαφορετικών εθνών και διαφορετικών συστημάτων διανεμητικής δικαιοσύνης τέθηκαν κανόνες που αφορούν μακροοικονομικές και κοινωνικές ισορροπίες χωρίς ασφαλιστικές δικλείδες, χωρίς διεξόδους και χωρίς πρόνοιες για αντιμετώπιση των ανισοτήτων στα πεδία της ανάπτυξης, της τεχνολογίας και της παραγωγικότητας. Οι εντάσεις είναι βέβαιες και ενόσω δεν υπάρχει μεταρρύθμιση λογικά θα βαθαίνουν. Όσο βέβαια οι πιέσεις αφορούν μικρά και ανίσχυρα κράτη όπως η Ελλάδα ή η Πορτογαλία τα πράγματα για την γραφειοκρατία των Βρυξελλών ήταν διαχειρίσιμα. Όσο όμως το πρόβλημα αγγίζει τα ισχυρά κράτη αλλάζουν οι διαλεκτικές σχέσεις Γερμανίας με τις υπόλοιπες μεγάλες δυνάμεις της Ευρώπης.

Στην ανάλυσή του ο Friedman αναφέρεται στις προϋποθέσεις ενός Γαλλο-Ιταλικού αντί-Γερμανικού άξονα. Παραλείπει να αναφέρει αυτό που στις αναλύσεις του υποστηρίζει ο Καθηγητής Παναγιώτης Ήφαιστος, ότι ενόσω η Γερμανική ισχύς ανέρχεται και εάν καταστεί ανεξέλεγκτη το βλέμμα θα πρέπει να στραφεί στις εξελίξεις στο επίπεδο των συγκλίσεων των δύο πυρηνικών ευρωπαϊκών δυνάμεων, της Γαλλίας και της Μεγάλης Βρετανίας.

Ένα είναι σίγουρο, ενώ τα μέτωπα της κρίσης στην Ευρώπη είναι πολλά η διαχείρισή της δεν λαμβάνει τον χαρακτήρα μιας συλλογικής προσπάθειας.

Political Tension Grows in France and Italy

April 30, 2014 | 0712 GMT

France and Italy are accustomed to political turbulence, but in recent weeks the conflicts within their governments have intensified. As Paris and Rome seek to apply controversial reforms, they are facing growing resistance from within the ruling parties while dealing with an increasingly populist opposition. Several events that occurred Tuesday highlight the extent to which both countries live every day on the brink of a political crisis that could create more problems for the eurozone.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi met with senators from his own Democratic Party and threatened to resign if they did not support his plans to reform the Italian constitution and modify the structure and powers of the Senate. A few hours later, the French Parliament approved a plan by Prime Minister Manuel Valls to apply spending cuts and fiscal reforms of 50 billion euros ($69 billion) over the next three years. The vote was nonbinding, but it was a key test for the health of the government. The plan faced strong resistance from left-wing members of the ruling Socialist Party, and during the weekend some lawmakers openly expressed their decision not to support it. Valls was forced to make concessions and soften some of his proposals to appease the dissenters within his own party. However, 41 Socialist lawmakers abstained from the April 29 vote, which shows that Valls’ attempts to mollify the plan’s opponents were only partially successful.

What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman explains.

These episodes paint a clear picture of the current situation in France and Italy: Center-left governments led by controversial figures that create divisions within their own parties, often making internal dissent more dangerous than the formal opposition. Valls and Renzi belong to the right wings of center-left parties and have proposed structural reforms to restore growth in their stagnant economies. But they were not their parties’ first choices for prime minister and took power only after political crises. Valls gained his position after the Socialists were defeated in the municipal elections held in March, and Renzi took over after weeks of political intrigue within the Democratic Party. This means that they assumed the leadership of fragmented governments, with factions basing their opposition to reforms both on ideological and personal grounds.

An increasingly populist opposition further complicates the situation for both France and Italy. Opinion polls show that the French elections for the EU Parliament will be a head-to-head race between the right-wing National Front and the center-right Union for a Popular Movement. These days, both parties seem to be competing to show which one is more Euroskeptical. When the Union for a Popular Movement presented its electoral program last week, criticism of the Schengen Agreement and immigration policies in the European Union were on the top of the list.

In Italy, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is basing his party’s campaign on strong anti-German rhetoric, including unpleasant references to the Holocaust. Berlusconi’s media machinery is also in full gear, with journalists and economists writing books that exalt Italy’s nationalism, criticize Germany and present plans to leave the euro. This in turn has forced the anti-establishment Five Star Movement to dust off its proposal to hold a referendum on Italy’s membership in the eurozone. Italy’s political elites traditionally have been deeply committed to the process of European integration, but the rise of anti-EU sentiment (and its potential deviation into anti-German sentiment) needs to be watched closely, especially since unemployment in Italy will remain high for the foreseeable future.

The political instability in France and Italy is deeply linked to idiosyncratic factors, but the European Union also plays a role. The center-left governments in Paris and Rome find themselves trapped in a legal-administrative framework that severely constrains their actions. Politicians and scholars across the continent are questioning the EU limits on debt, deficit and inflation. (Why is the EU deficit target set at 3 percent instead of, say, 5 percent? Why can’t the European Central Bank have an unemployment target instead of an inflation target?) But these limits and targets cannot be changed without a formal renegotiation of the EU treaties — something that will not happen in the current political context.

Thus, governments are adopting an ambiguous strategy of applying some fiscal reforms while relaxing the schedule under which they are supposed to honor their commitments to Brussels. This strategy is generating social unrest in most southern European countries, where unemployment is still at record-high levels and people continue to feel the impact of spending cuts. But it is also creating political tension within center-left governments. These parties deeply support the process of European integration but are ideologically opposed to some of the measures the European Union is proposing. To make things worse, they are competing against conservative and nationalist adversaries that feel more confortable with criticizing the European Union and its policies.

This situation raises questions about the viability of a strong Franco-Italian axis to challenge Germany’s leadership in Europe. On paper, this alliance makes sense: They share similar views on key issues, from their greater tolerance of inflation to their defense of a certain degree of economic protectionism. But such an axis would require strong and cohesive governments — something that France and Italy will not have any time soon.

Valls managed to get enough votes in Parliament on Tuesday, but he also opened the door for further bargaining and coercion, which could weaken his plans for reform. Renzi is dealing with a fragmented Democratic Party and a fragile alliance with a smaller party in the center-right. Political frictions within the ruling parties and populist pressure from the opposition will tax both governments in the coming months and shape their ability to implement reforms.

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Κατηγορίες:AOZ, Άρθρα, Διεθνείς Σχέσεις, Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, Ευρώπη

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