Message to the EU: The Buck Should Stop Here

Much has been written and will be written about the EU’s financial woes.   It is playing havoc with world markets and more troublingly, people’s lives and their life savings. Looking back to 2005 and the claptrap put forth by some European leaders, it is no wonder we are in the mess we are in today. In July 2005 Italy’s then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi launched an attack on the euro during a Forza Italia party conference saying it, “screwed everybody”.   In September 2011 Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a speech in front of German parliament, “The euro is the guarantee of a united Europe.   If the euro fails, then Europe fails.”  The following month Merkel reiterated her position to the Bundestag, “No one should think that a further half century of peace and prosperity is assured. It isn’t. And that’s why I say if the euro fails, Europe will fail, and that mustn’t happen.” It probably goes without saying, but I can’t help myself; Berlusconi knows a thing or two about screwing and the German’s know a thing or two about the loss of peace in Europe.  My advice to Merkel and Berlusconi’s successor Mario Monti, just keep quiet and get your cheque book out, because the Germans and Italians have a lot to pay for and they’re not nearly there yet.  And for those wondering about the French and the British; we will get to them later. Looking back it is clear to see that former French president François Mitterrand and former chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl provided vital vision and leadership when forming the EU.  They recognized that in order to have union you need compromise – lots of it.   The EU and the world are in need of leaders with vision; we are in need of leaders who can articulate that vision with clarity and compromise. It is very possible that the alternative to union is extreme nationalism and we have seen where that can lead.  Have we forgotten the fifty three million dead in the last Great War? European leaders of all stripes need to get on with compromise and provide real leadership.  Drop the politics and fear mongering.   I would recommend several “The Buck Stops Here” placards; one for each EU leader for starters. In the immortal words of Benjamin Franklin, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

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