... The tragedy of modern Greece is that they don’t really trust themselves – any more than Schäuble does – to run their own affairs. There are still large public majorities for staying with the euro, for sticking with nurse – in spite of the toxic medicine she dispenses. I expect that the agony will go on, with endless deadlines and fudges and semi-disguised bailouts.
But the lessons from the Schäuble paper are clear. They apply to Britain as much as to Greece. The first lesson is that this is what happens when a nation gives up economic sovereignty, in the hope – accurate or deluded – of somehow becoming richer. The Greeks thought they were being smart to sacrifice their monetary independence; they thought they could free-ride. They didn’t appreciate that this autonomy might be something valuable in itself – something they would one day yearn for again.
The second lesson is that whatever they say in Brussels, there is nothing inevitable about any of this process of “integration”. It is all up for grabs. This is no time to moderate UK proposals for reform; quite the reverse, and David Cameron is dead right to open a new front on employment law.
No one can read that German paper, and conclude that the EU is still meant to be an association of sovereign nation-states. These Schäuble proposals are tyrannical. They should be bitterly resisted.