Common EU Debt Is a Taboo that Should Not Be Broken
‘Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the EU Commission, wants to increase the amount of debt held by the EU. We must finally change our trajectory’, according to Harald Vilimsky, MEP of the Austria’s Freedom Party (FPÖ). The right-wing politician recalled that von der Leyen has once more urged for the creation of a ‘sovereignty fund,’ which had been French President Emmanuel Macron’s initial concept. The EU’s reaction to the US’ ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ is being promoted by the head of the Commission as a protectionist government expenditure program.
‘The people of Europe are being deceived. Joint debts cannot be assumed by the EU. But this taboo was broken with the creation of the 800-billion-euro coronavirus reconstruction fund, which was justified as a one-time exception brought on by the pandemic. However, since then, fresh justifications for additional common EU debt programmes have emerged.’ According to Vilimsky, the EU bureaucracy wants to consolidate power and use it against its member states.
‘It is clear that Brussels would stop at nothing to keep the EU and its member states indebted to one another. The intention behind this is to increase centralization while lowering the amount of flexibility available to the member states. In actuality, the goal is to strengthen Brussels’ position as the central distribution hub with political and economic sway over the member states, not to solve problems. The EU bureaucracy is working on eventually granting the central government joint debt competence’, claimed the MEP. The politician added: ‘It is obvious that the southern EU countries, which do not have their debts under control due to a lack of budgetary discipline, are also in on this.’ According to Vilimsky, ‘the sovereignty fund, for instance, is a French idea to outsource some French government spending to the EU level.’
Erwin Angerer, also of the FPÖ, harshly criticized the EU’s policy. The price cap on Russian oil, which went into effect on Monday, as well as the oil embargo were both objected to by the FPÖ’s economic policy expert. According to Angerer, due to EU policies that have the active support of the Austrian federal government, next year will be a year of economic catastrophe.
‘By complying, our government is once again forgetting that it should be serving the people and not the EU and that it should take all reasonable precautions to protect Austrians. They have, however, once more assumed the initiative in the oil embargo. Once more, Austria’s hard-won, modest prosperity will be sacrificed, and the cost will fall on the people, the economy, and social security.’ the politician said. ‘In the past, Russia has made it clear that it will not provide raw materials to nations that support the price cap,’ Angerer reminded, emphasizing that ‘The response from Russia will further destabilize the world economy, including Austria. The EU thinks that, like past sanctions, this one will really drive Russia to its knees. However, this oil embargo will not have the desired effect and instead will have a detrimental effect on our economy and people, just like earlier sanctions that were failed. Because of the oil embargo, prices will continue to climb, raising the cost of everything.’
The FPÖ has once again urged the government to consult the public over the sanctions policy and act accordingly, as the Hungarian government is now doing. According to the FPÖ, the Hungarian government’s actions should be emulated, not critiqued. ‘The prime minister of Hungary receives criticism all the time. But just as he did, [our government] should ask people if they indeed want to carry this sanctions policy—which is wrecking the economy and killing jobs—on their backs.’
Hungary Vilified for Speaking Out
Hungary has been portrayed in the media as the only country that is upsetting the alleged consensus on aiding Ukraine, misrepresenting the Hungarian finance minister’s objection to amending the rules governing the EU budget as a ‘veto’. However, it is becoming clear that Budapest is not the only one with the opinion that transforming the EU into a community of debt is a bad idea. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán emphasized that the government has every intention of helping Ukraine, however, it believes that it would be unwise for the members states to take out a joint loan with their economies already under extreme strain as a result of the war and the sanctions. The Austrian politicians are the first who have publicly expressed support for Budapest’s stance, but probably many more share the Hungarian PM’s view.