The Great Men and Geniuses in charge of the European Union have sprung one of their astonishing surprises. This involves stealing money officially, to call it by its proper name, what’s more stealing from people in Cyprus who are mostly not well off. Cyprus is the latest EU member to be bankrupt and in urgent need of a bail-out. Depositors in Cypriot banks had been assured that the money in their accounts was safe, guaranteed. That turns out to have been a lie. Depositors will have from 6.75 percent up to 9.99 percent confiscated from their accounts. The measure does not spare anyone, not even pensioners. The big holdings belong to Russian oligarchs, and they know how to take care of themselves, treating Cyprus as an outdoor safety deposit box.
Tacitly acknowledging the injustice, the British government has stepped forward to reimburse British soldiers and support staff garrisoned there.
This is not the first official stealing of the kind. Italy did not meet the requirements to join the euro, and covered its fudging by taking without warning a percentage from deposit accounts. There may well be little money left in countries already bankrupt, but now there is the risk of a run on the banks in Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and even France, all of whom are as dodgy economically as Cyprus. Any thoughtful person with a bank deposit in those countries will do whatever can be done to empty it.
Germany is the driving force behind this measure, partly to avoid having itself to pay for Cypriot profligacy but also in the belief that it’s salutary for people to go through some collective suffering for the debts accumulated in their name. To lie to the people and to rob them is to break the trust on which the democratic social contract rests. If such arrogance and folly do not end in throwing out the Great Men and Geniuses who have assumed power over them, then Europeans will show that they have been well and truly broken.