"Once A Liar, Always A Liar": The Incredible (Un)Truth About Italy, Greece, And The Birth Of The Euro
Submitted by Tyler Durden
on 05/09/2012 - 02:44 Belgium Budget Deficit Central Banks European Union France Gambling Germany Greece Gross Domestic Product Italy
In response to a request by Germany's SPIEGEL
, the German government has, for the first time, released hundreds of pages of documents from 1994 to 1998 on the introduction of the euro and the inclusion of Italy in the euro zone. They include reports from the German embassy in Rome, internal government memos and letters, and hand-written minutes of the chancellor's meetings. The documents prove what was only assumed until now: Italy should never have been accepted into the common currency zone. The decision to invite Rome to join was based almost exclusively on political considerations at the expense of economic criteria. It also created a precedent for a much bigger mistake two years later, namely Greece's acceptance into the euro zone.
Many of the euro's problems can be traced to its birth defects. For political reasons, countries were included that weren't ready at the time. Operation "self-deception" began in December 1991, and culminated with a plausibly deniable comment of 'not without the Italians' by Kohl who needed them to bring the French along to the Euro party to ensure his successful re-election. A few weeks before the launch of the common European currency, Stenglin's assessment of the situation took on a dramatic undertone, when he wrote: "The question arises as to whether a country with an extremely high debt ratio doesn't risk gambling away the success of its consolidation efforts to date, thereby harming not only itself, but also the monetary union
." It was a prophetic remark. Of course, financial data doesn't play much of a role when it comes to war and peace. Italy became a perfect example of the steadfast belief of politicians that economic development would eventually conform to the visions of national leaders.