Europe is in the midst of a growth and political crisis which has thrown the continent into a recession; yet across Europe centre-right Member States are holding to the status-quo and continuing to maintain budgetary restraint and austere spending policies. Indeed across the governments of the 27 member bloc there exists an embedded anti-Keynesian sentiment and a policy mood that sings to the tune of Berlin orchestrated/imposed ordoliberal budgetary and fiscal rectitude. And from this, despite an auserity drive that has shown itself to forever aggravate the debt problem and depress the economy, Europe remains steadfast to the Berlin-consensus that holds that austerity is the only route to sustainble growth, investment, jobs and a long term recovery.
However the peoples are getting grumpy. Indeed the European citizenry are ostensibly a peoples experiencing austerity and retrenchement fatigue and the continent's in situ governments are feeling the full frontal impact of this retrenchment resentment; as exemplified by the collapse last week of the Dutch government - long seen as one of Europe's most stable nations with triple-A status - as well as the ascendance of Francois Hollande and a rampant anti-austerity sentiment in France.
And in spite of all the austerity-related failings and very a clearly grumpy, frustrated and austerity-pained European citizenry, the European Commission has tabled a draft budget for 2013 that will surely only go to compound and further aggravate Europe-wide austerity pains; with what will be a slap in the face to many national treasuries as Brussels has toyed with the figure of increasing its budget for next year by 6.8%.
This considerable expansion of EU funding, which will see the eurocrats at the Berlaymont building wrench money from the pockets of penny-tight governments, comes at a time when the EU itself is handing out austerity programmes for many of the member states.
Certainly this is becoming a very expensive, unresponsive and illogical union of states and it makes me wonder to what logic those in Brussels hold themselves to and more importantly: how much longer can a logic that has seen the EU administration increase its budget each year since 1957 go on?
In any case here's my cartoon depicting the EU's budgetary madness!