” Europe’s all-too-predictable relapse into recession is gathering force, threatening not only the pipe dream of economic and political unity, but eroding grandiose illusions that have helped prop up the world’s financial house of cards. The unwillingness of France in particular to play by the EU’s — i.e., Germany’s — rules appears to have doomed the EU dream. The idea of a borderless Europe bound by a common currency and a shared desire to forever banish war from the Continent was a lofty one, but it was mired from the start in deeply rooted political animosities, grass-roots skepticism and bureaucratic overreach. Now these problems, along with a great many others, have turned the EU project into a Tower of Babel. A million pages of meticulously codified EU rules might as well have been written in cuneiform, so inscrutable and arcane have they become.
And useless as well. France’s prolonged economic death rattle has been made possible by running annual deficits larger by half than the 3% “allowed” by Brussels. And now, channeling de Gaulle for what could turn out to be France’s last hurrah, the French have flouted Merckel’s authority, and common sense itself, by proposing to remedy the problem by hiring more government workers and expanding tax breaks. Portugal, Greece, Spain and the other deadbeat rabble have been cheering them on, and why not? They think they have nothing to lose — that Germany is the only country with any skin in the game. Their folly is about to be laid bare, however, unless Germany gives in and allows Europe’s Central Bank to monetize the collective debts of Europe Fed-style. “