21:44 GMT28 October 2020
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    The euro currency is a major factor accelerating the process of economic and political disintegration within the European Union, according to Belgian left politician Peter Mertens.

    The European Union is now "disintegrating," Paul Magnette, Minister-President of the Belgian French-speaking region of Wallonia, said in a recent interview with L’Echo.

    "We are nearing a process of political disintegration, with some countries becoming ungovernable," the politician said.

    Magnette also criticized the euro currency as poorly thought-out, which accelerated "social and financial deregulation."

    Magnette has been known as a vocal critic of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a free trade deal between the EU and Canada. In the interview, he also spoke out for withdrawal from the bloc of such countries as Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary, following the Brexit example.

    Magnette’s remarks are especially surprising, taking into account the fact that such criticism came from a left-wing and pro-European politician.

    Peter Mertens, the leader of the Workers’ Party of Belgium, underscored that in Belgium criticism of the current state of European integration comes from left-wing political forces, not from the right, like in France or in the Netherlands.

    "From the very beginning, the euro has been a problem. The currency was designed to serve the interests of Germany, Europe’s strongest economy. It was clear that the European united market was not people’s will. It was a project for the business establishment," Mertens said in an interview with Sputnik French.

    The politician shared Magnette’s suggestion that the eastward expansion of the European Union was not conducted properly.

    "In 2007-2008, several Eastern European countries joined the EU. The main reason was that German companies were looking for a cheap labor force. At the same time, it was clear that such countries as Bulgaria and Romania were not as economically developed as Central Europe. As a result, now there are two polarities in the EU, between the north and the south and between the west and the east," Mertens pointed out.

    He also agreed with Magnette that the introduction of the euro only deepened the social and economic divisions within the EU.

    "In my opinion, the euro currency system was built under Germany’s surveillance. And I think that to a certain extent the current EU is autocratic and authoritarian," he said.

    Nevertheless, Mertens warned that a withdrawal of Eastern European countries from the EU would not resolve the crisis.

    "We should not forget that we need to protect those countries. Now, some political forces call for cooperation only with economically developed countries. But we should continue our cooperation with Poland and other Eastern European countries," he said.

    Mertens also said that criticism of the European Union should not be monopolized by right-wing political movements.

    "These concerns [about the crisis in the EU] can be expressed in many ways. For example, criticism can be expressed by the nationalists or the far-rights, like in France and the Netherlands. But it can also come from the left, like in Spain or Wallonia. The common idea is that the current political elites do not represent their people anymore," Mertens concluded.

     

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    Tags:
    European integration, crisis, euro, European Union, Belgium
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