Solutions to please the populists

Published on 2 August 2011 at 13:20


Following the agreement on raising the U.S. debt ceiling the Volkskrant writes that “the populists are holding the crises hostage." In just two weeks, the Dutch newspaper notes, the leaders on both sides of the Atlantic "seem to have avoided the collapse of the twenty-seventh largest economy (Greece) and the largest economy (the U.S.) in the world”, but in reality the solutions that were chosen merely reveal that they acted in their own interests. "The rescue plan is a Greek labyrinth in which even the financial experts can no longer find their way.” The American austerity plan is a shell game that reveals, under one shell, what has been rejected (higher taxes) but leaves what will really happen hidden under another shell."

“The EU leaders have helped Greece, but refuse to swell the bailout fund to an amount that would let other countries benefit from it. While the politicians in Washington have raised the debt limit, they refuse to reduce the state debt structurally by raising taxes." To please their electorates, the authorities in Brussels and Washington had to show a little subservience. According to the Volkskrant, this is down to “the growing fear of populists in some countries (Netherlands, Finland) that have taken the governments hostage and, in other countries, are threatening to do so." The daily regrets that Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, with their eyes on the elections, are ignoring "historic opportunities, like the accelerated integration of Europe and a greater role for America’s federal government" at the expense of "political concessions to populists like Marine Le Pen, Bild-Zeitung and the Tea Party."

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