The FT has noted that:
Senior German politicians have warned Brussels against any attempt to loosen the EU’s budget rules in a bid to free up spending on green projects.
As they also note:
The European Commission will on Wednesday kick off a drive for higher environmentally friendly investment when it unveils its Green New Deal.
Among the questions being asked in Brussels is whether the region’s fiscal rules could be tweaked to make it easier for governments to borrow and spend on projects that curb emissions. Paolo Gentiloni, the EU’s new economy commissioner, has said he wants to re-examine the region’s deficit rules, but any significant changes would be highly contentious, especially in frugal northern European states.
But the Germans are not happy:
In Berlin, Eckhardt Rehberg, the senior budget spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU, said the EU’s stability and growth pact, which aims to control government borrowing, already provided enough flexibility to permit public investments. “We don’t need any more exceptions,” he said.
Hans Michelbach, an MP for the CSU, the CDU’s sister party, and the party’s main spokesman on budgetary matters, said: “Gentiloni’s plans are an attack on the stabilisation goals under the pretext of protecting the climate.”
Markus Ferber, the head of the conservative group in the European Parliament’s economy committee, argued that if the commission loosened the budget rules, countries with higher public debt burdens such as Italy and France would become “very creative” in relabelling their expenditure as sustainable.
“In the end expenditures are expenditures, no matter if they are green or not,” he said. “If a member state ends up at the brink of default, the market will not differentiate if the debt was used to finance supposedly green investments or not.”
Reports such as these make we despair. Supposedly sensible people, who claim that their behaviour is based on rational expectations, are suggesting that although we face the biggest immediate crisis in human history, with our own survival on this planet at risk, maintaining a neat and tidy balance sheet that complies with entirely artificial, and in themselves almost irrelevant, human constructs that have no real impact on human well-being is more important.
If you want clear evidence that the neoliberal economic mindset corrupts human behaviour then this is it. Making the meeting of urgent, real need subservient to the artificial constraints of a dogma that not only helped create this crisis, but has also clearly failed to address it, is wanton dereliction of responsibility to humanity at large. But then, that’s what those espousing this mantra have long done, at cost to us all.
What’s so worrying is that we have reached the point where this is becoming quite literally a fight to the death. And neoliberalism has to be defeated.