Germany and France talk about dividing up the EU, even as they talk about further unifying it

Here, from The Guardian, is a typical example of the incoherent garbage-in, garbage-out journalism which has been the standard on the European financial crisis. First, the headline and first two paragraphs:

European debt crisis spiralling out of control
Reports that Germany and France have begun talks to break up the eurozone amid fears that Italy will be too big to rescue

Fears that Europe’s sovereign debt crisis was spiralling out of control have intensified as political chaos in Athens and Rome, and looming recession, created panic on world markets.

Reports emerging from Brussels said that Germany and France had begun preliminary talks on a break-up of the eurozone, amid fears that Italy would be too big to rescue.

But then, four paragraphs later, this:

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said the situation had become “unpleasant,” and called for eurozone members to accelerate plans for closer political integration. “It is time for a breakthrough to a new Europe,” she said. “Because the world is changing so much, we must be prepared to answer the challenges. That will mean more Europe, not less Europe.”

The president of the European commission, José Manuel Barroso, issued a new call for the EU to “unite or face irrelevance” in the face of the mounting economic crisis in Italy. “We are witnessing fundamental changes to the economic and geopolitical order that have convinced me that Europe needs to advance now together or risk fragmentation. Europe must either transform itself or it will decline. We are in a defining moment where we either unite or face irrelevance,” he said.

So, the EU is in such a parlous state that its leaders are talking of a breakup of the Union, but at the same time they’re talking about even greater unification? How can this be?

The contradiction is explained, sort of, in the next paragraph, which really should have been the lead paragraph of the article:

Senior policymakers in Paris, Berlin and Brussels are reported to have discussed the possibility of one or more countries leaving the eurozone, while the remaining core pushes on toward deeper economic integration, including on tax and fiscal policy.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 10, 2011 10:10 AM | Send

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