While EU leaders were scattered, some in pathetically futile election debates , others in non-emergency travel to the new Chinese master, the markets (which we were all quite happy to use, for years, to borrow from to maintain a lifestyle which our work did not justify any more) began to hold us accountable.
Nobody was there to answer them: How did we dare do nothing, when we hastened to save our financial system? Is Europe, for Europeans, less important than the banks?
We had to come near a disaster in Greece, last Sunday, for us to take some make-believe decisions, exchanging assistance of the European Union and IMF against Hellenic budgetary savings. Inapplicable decisions: Never indeed will the Greeks, implement such a severe program of austerity that is imposed upon them.
This is good: Europeans never had the intention to pay them the money they promise today: each EU government, in fact, like all of us, feeling that the worst is coming, will prefer to keep for itself the little money it has (or thinks it can still borrow).
The solution thus does not consist in lending to Greece money which we do not have, by getting more in debt: should Greece lend tomorrow to Portugal, money that France would lend to Greece today ? Absurd!
The Europeans seem not to realize that Americans and Chinese are preparing themselves to overcome the crisis through a combination of investment, devaluation, inflation and war economy, of which we will be the main victims. They do not realize that these two major players in the world gave themselves an effective governance: the Chinese have given all power to one party, the Americans have entrusted the command to their Central Bank: Mr. Hu Jin Tao and Mr. Bernanke are now the two real masters of the world.
Europe cannot do the same: no one would accept, and fortunately, a dictatorship of the proletariat, or even less, of Jean Claude Trichet.
And yet if we want to avoid the disaster, we need to see the heads of state of our countries meeting tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, endlessly, as was the case in 2008 under the French presidency, to act, and create a borrowing capacity in European Treasury bonds, which would at once find buyers, and which would be enough to end this crisis, giving time to act on the essential, in other words the mess of public expenditure, the absence of fiscal coordination and banking regulation.
This is possible. We would simply need to decide, as soon as tomorrow, to create a European Treasury Agency immediately allowed to borrow on behalf of the Union, and a European Budgetary Fund immediately mandated to monitor budget expenditure of countries whose debt is over 80% of their GDP.
If the EU leaders do not act in this direction quickly, they will be swept away by the avalanche. And we, for a time with them.