Mr Draghi’s magic bullet has badly wounded something even more important – democracy in Europe. Certainly, for anyone with a sense of history, the sight of the German representative on the ECB being isolated and outvoted should be chilling.
Since 1945, the central idea of the European project was never again to leave a powerful and aggrieved Germany isolated at the centre of Europe.
Gideon Rachman, Financial Times, September 10, 2012
As a result of the ECB’s actions, voters from Germany to Spain will increasingly find that crucial decisions about national economic policy can no longer be changed at the ballot box.
At the ECB, the president of the German central bank has just one vote – the same as the presidents of the central banks of Malta or Slovenia. Jens Weidmann, the head of the Bundesbank, cast the sole vote against the bond-buying plans.
After the ECB decision, the Bundesbank issued a statement arguing that the ECB’s plans are “tantamount to financing government by printing banknotes” and “redistribute considerable risks among various countries’ taxpayers”. Translation: the ECB’s action are illegal and dangerous, and German taxpayers could end up with the bill.
To access the ECB’s unlimited firepower, the Spanish or Italians would have to agree to “enter a programme”.n reality, Madrid or Rome would have to accept International Monetary Fund-style supervision of their national budgets, directed from Brussels and Frankfurt.
Such a humiliating and overt loss of national sovereignty, combined with a deep recession, would be the perfect formula to drive voters to the political extremes, as Greece is demonstrating.
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