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FINANCE/ From Barcelona to Paris, a fuse about to blow up Europe

UGO BERTONE discusses the upcoming meeting of the European Central Bank in Barcelona and how opinion is turning against the austerity measures and threatening to break Europe apart.

(Infophoto) (Infophoto)

It seems that Mario Draghi has chosen the right setting to embarrass the hawks of the Bundesbank about the fact that something is not working in the Teutonic treatment of the crisis, all austerity and no development. Today, in fact, as happens twice a year, the Central Bank leaves their comfortable Eurotower headquarters in Frankfurt for a trip, but this time the members of the Executive will not be welcomed by the solemn and austere setting of post-modern Berlin, like a few months ago, but they will face Barcelona, the troubled and angry capital of the dissent of old Europe. In fact, in view of the meeting of bankers, Spain suspended the Schengen agreement and sent 6,500 police officers to reinforce the Catalan police.

Actually, it is not possible that the hand of Draghi is behind the scenes of the most dramatic summit for Europe, since the headquarters of the summit is chosen far in advance. Indeed, there is the suspicion that the decision to go to Barcelona was made, at the time, in the belief that by this time the EU would have left behind the most dramatic problems, first of all the problem of Greece. Alas, there was never more foolhardy optimism. The prophecy put forward less than two weeks ago by George Soros in Berlin on the occasion of the meeting of his Institute for New Economic Thinking is sinister: the situation of the EU today is reminiscent of that of the Soviet Union in the early nineties. A provocation? Yes, but not an outlandish one given the situation.

Fifteen out of twenty-seven countries of the European Community are officially in recession. Politically, the anti-European electorate makes up one out of every three votes in France (even supposing that all the voters for François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy are pro-Brussels), and there is a clear anti-euro protest vote in both Greece and Ireland. The financial decline of the common space is even more worrying: 39% of the funds raised by the Italian banks through the Ltro operation that Draghi promoted were used to buy government bonds that had been abandoned by their Northern European counterparts. The percent is as high as 48% for Spain.