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Eurozone trashed

  • 16 November 2011

One does not have to be a fan of Silvio Berlusconi's sordid, and now crumbling, regime in Italy to see the madness of austerity that is stripping away the sovereignty of states through the eurozone.

That comes in light of Italy's own madness that saw debt rise to some of the highest levels in Europe, standing at a staggering 120 per cent of GDP. But to call 12 November, as many Italian protesters have done, a 'liberation day' of sorts is to misunderstand what exactly has happened.

History tells us that states whose sovereign existence is curtailed by economic intrusions collapse, regroup and strike back, all in various forms.

Some of these reactions can have devastating consequences to regional security. When the German economy was made the target of occupation measures by the Allies after the First World War, sovereignty was circumscribed in a manner that provided ready political capital for extremist parties to support. It did not take long for the jackboot to start marching through the Ruhr.

The unravelling of the eurozone suggests the emergence of European states who will either be peripheral to the currency policy in the zone, or outside it. In being placed on the outer in such stark fashion, a new type of 'clipped' sovereignty is emerging. The elected parliamentarian is gradually becoming irrelevant, at the mercy of a new technocratic order inimical to democracy.

What we are seeing is another addition to the armoury of those who wish to see sovereignty further reduced, qualified and circumscribed. With the language of 'human security' comes the language of interference where human rights are deemed to have been abused. If a government abuses its own people, intervention can, and has taken place through the UN Security Council.

While the UN Charter acknowledges the core idea of state borders and sovereignty, it has been pecked away over the years. The financial crisis further handicaps state autonomy, pegging policy to an externally dictated austerity regime.

Writing for the Guardian, journalist Giuliano Ferrara made the point graphically and accurately that bond yields were being used 'like armoured cars' to strike at democracy. The League's interior minister Roberto Maroni saw the line from Brussels as being distinctly anti-democratic. 'I don't think there