Why is everyone across the European Union becoming more shrill with every day? We know there is a lot at stake, but why this constant barrage of personal abuse followed by quiet passage of conciliatory messages in camera and under the table later? This morning, The Slog asks if this chart below (from Marketwatch via the IMF) might be one of the bigger factors that go beyond bad bank bets (derivatives), ECB loss of face, and eurogroupe terror of disobedience contagion.


It really isn’t that hard to read the take-out from it: ClubMed did far, far better outside the eurozone than in it. If Greece leaves and prospers, the game is over for the euronauts.

It is a disturbing feature of this our Great European project that the degree to which, since the EC became the EU, everyone has been at many other throats in several directions at once. Since the launch of the euro, this has gone up to Defcom 3 – in that throat-cutting is now a daily threat, and when this fails to work, the kind of insults we haven’t seen since ooh it must be 1916 are hurled across the conference tables and airwaves of the Union.

First out of the péage last night was EU Parliament President Martin Schulz. Such is the rate of title inflation in the EU these days, one wonders at times whether this is yet another unhinged attempt to counter economic deflation; either way, everyone now is chief of or President of something. Herr Schulz (I use this form of address because he is a German person) is President of a body he himself admits is seen as full of “superfluous and useless human beings”. His career would suggest he fits the mould perfectly, but above all he is a raving federalist who thinks that “today’s problems are too big to be handled by any one State, and so it is more important than ever that Europe becomes more closely unified”.

In the spirit of such unity, Martin last night said that David Cameron’s campaign for EU reform “is driven by hatred, lies and national resentment”. Thus ended a week in which the Greek PM Alexis Tsipras referred to the eurogroupe as “criminally responsible” for Greece being in crisis, and Jean-Claude Juncker (another President) said Tspras must bear “criminal responsibility” for being intransigent. It was also a week in which the Austrian PM told Syriza to “stop being infantile”, and Spain’s Rajoy told the Greeks they were “spoiling it for the rest of us”. Clearly, there is an insatiable demand for austerity and economic decline in the eurozone, and left-wing dogma is getting in the way.

Further west in France, Le Monde yesterday scorned Britain’s “sirens of fake independence” adding that if we left the Union “it will prove to be your Waterloo”. Listen Johnny Foreigner, we won at Waterloo and you’re Europe-uniting dictator lost, so a more careful choice of metaphor might be in order there. Back in Athens, the Greek Parliament told Frankfurt-am-Brussels that its debt had a serious body odour problem, but further north in Berlin Sigmar Gabriel went into the pages of Bild to announce that German patience “is  running thin with this constant and dishonest Greek intransigence on the part of these clowns and former Communists in Syriza”. Herr Gabriel (he’s a Vice-Chancellor) was obviously trying to pour oil on troubled waters by lighting it, but his metaphor too was an odd one: it’s a long time since I saw a German either running or thin, although there are some very thin people in Greece at the minute.*

To the South West, Dutch cheese impersonator and tonsorially teased Jeroan Dijessllbleom (he’s a Chairman) sneered at a press conference on the Greek crisis yesterday that “Athens is heading for the euro exit” – a statement based more on hope and hype than hard fact – and sweeping east towards central Europe, Polish politician Andrsej Duda (he’s a President) told Brussels where to stick its Ukraine policy by snubbing Kiev in favour of Moscow, having earlier old Juncker lackey Donald Tusk (he’s a Head Commissioner) where to stick the euro.

Last week Juncker (he’s an unelected President of an unelected Commission) greeted Hungarian President Viktor Orban (he’s an elected President of a sovereign Democratic State) with the words “Good morning, dictator”. Monsieur Drunker claimed it was a joke, probably in the same vein as first of all calling Tsipras “friend” and then “liar”. But then, it’s an odd place, Luxembourg: like Cyprus in that it launders lots of funny-money, just rather better protected from the bludgeoning blackmail of the Draghi Mob. Anyway, during his Brussels visit, President Orban told the eurocrats that they too could anally insert their euro, as it was becoming apparent to all that  is going to be the best use for it before too long.

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel remains at odds on budget control with Francois Hollande, and the IMF is hurling accusations of sloth and incompetence at everyone. But as so often, perhaps Mutti Geli has grasped that it is time for a more balanced sort of spin aimed at stopping the rot right here. Above all else, the one thing she must not allow to happen is for the wastrel cast-out prodigal stray to return victorious in Reel Two.So it is that Der Spiegel – an intelligent German print and digital magazine where Merkel’s thoughts are often planted – has published a piece arguing forcibly that the image of the “luxury Greek pensioner”, so dear to German politicians and the media, is pure mythical spin.

It shows that the statistical comparisons published by papers such as Bild, for example,  compare the average retirement age in the Greek public sector (given as 56 years) with retirement old age in Germany (which is given as 64 years), when according to official figures the average pension in both countries is the same – 61.4 years.

Many other tabloid/Schäuble anomolies lies are also challenged. This – and the degree to which the ECB continues to blend cosh with cash – continues to tell me that the Troikanauts are infinitely more scared than the Greeks. Because, let’s face it, they have a lot to be scared about.*

Yesterday at The Slog: Can Stournaras serve two masters and survive?