“Wouldn’t it be easier to dissolve the people and elect another in their place?” This satirical comment from Bertolt Brecht, the German poet, playwright and communist, is gloriously apposite to the proposed resuscitation of a rejected European Union constitution in Berlin this week. It is ironic that Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor and a former citizen of East Germany, should have entered this trap. For it was of this regime that Brecht complained in the poem, written in response to the workers’ uprising of June 1953. Brecht’s suggestion was preceded by a remark even more apposite to today’s situation: “The people had forfeited the confidence of the government and could win it back only by redoubled efforts.” Indeed, the European or, more precisely, Dutch and French peoples have done just that. They rejected a treaty designed by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, grandest of European grandees. How dare they! The remainder of Martin Wolf’s column can be read here (FT.com subscription required). Discussion from our guest economists is free.
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