Europe spreads its irreducible divisions

DECRYPTION – The confrontation is focused between two diehards, the Netherlands and Italy.

Bruno Le Maire, Wednesday, during the meeting by videoconference of the Eurogroup finance ministers.
Bruno Le Maire, Wednesday, during the meeting by videoconference of the Eurogroup finance ministers. THOMAS SAMSON / AFP

A “Shame on Europe“, a failure “unacceptable”. Bruno Le Maire does not have enough harsh words against some of his fellow European finance ministers after sixteen hours of fruitless discussions on a common economic recovery. The scheme is however known. Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb recalls the three classic phases of the European crises: “First awareness, then chaos, and finally an imperfect solution.”

After the maze of isolated, even competing, responses between Member States at the start of the crisis, a recovery was hoped to see Europe come together in imagining collective solutions. Far from a simple cacophony, it is the polarization on its deep divisions that takes root at the worst moment.

We were waiting for the battle of coronabonds, these controversial common obligations which would make it possible to pool resources. It didn’t even happen. The very political subject was barely raised in the Eurogroup

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