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Hans-Olaf Henkel was speaking after financial analysts said “alarm bells should be going off” at the European Central Bank as a result of increasing numbers of coronavirus cases which they said represented a risk to the monetary union of countries which have adopted the euro. Mr Henkel, who stepped down from the European Parliament last year, told Express.co.uk he was concerned about the long-term strategic affect which the coronavirus crisis would have on the EU’s economic system.
He explained: “It is alarming if the French State Secretary for European Affairs, Monsieur Clement Beaune, now officially suggests that the stability criteria, agreed upon by all participants of the euro system when the common currency was introduced, now demands that they be dropped.
“He justifies this by ‘a world which after corona looks much different than before corona’, clearly referring to the fact that practically all countries now have higher debt levels than before.
“However, one should not forget that the EU-state debt level before corona was already 86 percent of GDP, far beyond the agreed-upon level of 60 percent.
“In the case of France, the debt level was already last year 98.1 percent and will raise this year to 116.5 percent!”
Referring to the landmark 1992 treaty which set down the convergence criteria for euro membership, Mr Henkel added: “Jean-Claude Juncker, the previous president of the European commission, never criticised France for this blatant violation of the Maastricht treaty ‘because it is France’!”
“As such, the corona crisis is now being used as a pretext to destroy the foundation of the common currency, fulfilling a dream of French politicians from the very beginning.
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“Also, the Italian EU commissioner for the Common Currency, Paolo Gentilini, has already announced to rework those stability criteria, of course – what else? – into the direction of instability.”
Mr Henkel, who believes Brexit dealt a hammer blow to the EU’s fiscal responsibility because of the UK’s traditional resistance to high public spending, said: “The floodgates for irresponsible debt accumulation have been opened by corona and I see no one trying to close them again.”
Turning his attention to the EU’s nominal leader, Mr Henkel said: “Also the new President of the European Commission, Ms von der Leyen, will not stop this trend.
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She is a French Trojan horse in the European Parliament
“One needs to remember, that her candidacy was not pushed from anyone in Germany, it was the idea of the French president Macron.
“She is a French Trojan horse in the European Parliament.
“This is tragic, because our children and grandchildren one day either have to pay back the debts or suffer from gigantic inflation rates.
“But then, they cannot vote today, so no one listens to them, no one takes care of their interest.”
Mr Henkel also predicted an uneven recovery across the bloc depending on the impact the virus had had in individual countries.
He said: “I never believed that the recovery from the corona crisis would be in the form of a V, meaning that it would be a fast one.
“In fact, the resurgence of the pandemic almost everywhere in the world shows us that the economic disaster will be with us for a much longer time.
“It will also not take the shape of an U, rather of many Ws, meaning a little growth here and then another slump there; depending on the availability of an effective vaccine, treatment and or herd immunity.
“There seems to be a rather clear correlation between countries which suffer more from infections than others and countries where the economic recovery will be slower than others.
“Consequently, the recovery will take more time in Spain, Italy or France and somewhat less time in Germany, Sweden or Poland.”
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