Euro Divides, ‘Violent Revolution’ May Loom: Critic
Europe’s troubled single currency is dividing the continent into warring factions, all of which could end in a “democratic…or violent revolution” between the continent's indebted economies and their European creditors, a U.K. lawmaker told CNBC Tuesday.
Nigel Farage – leader of the populist U.K. Independence Party and a member of the European Parliament, said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the currency shared by 17 of Europe’s economies was forcing them to “hate each other.” He believes Greece should default, with the euro completely broken-up and reverted back to its legacy currencies.
Protests – and antipathy toward Germany – are raging in Greece over austerity measures. Farage warned that the conflict was exacerbating the divide between Europe’s wealthy northern bloc and its poorer Southern region. (Read more: Snipers, Commandos to Welcome Merkel in Greece.)
“What will break [the euro] up in the end...will be one of two things," Farage said. "It will either be a democratic revolution in countries like Finland and the Netherlands, where they get governments who say enough, or it will be violent revolution in Southern Europe."
Farage is a vitriolic critic of the euro project. The self-described European skeptic frequently harangues fellow parliamentarians from the floor of the European Parliament, and has morphed into an Internet sensation in the process. His anti-euro diatribes are frequently posted to YouTube.
European policymakers “are fanatical about this project,” Farage said, even as popular enthusiasm for the single currency wanes sharply in countries feeling the squeeze of bailouts and forced austerity. He predicted a “slow, painful death” of the euro. (Read more: Merkel Should Bury Euro During Greece Visit: Economist.)
European integration “if you remember, was designed after World War II to bring Europe closer together to make us all love each other,” Farage said. Now, “just look what it’s doing.”
Greece’s economy is sinking under the weight of tax hikes and drastic spending cuts, the European lawmaker said, and should default and re-adopt the Drachma in order to spark an export-led revival.
The Mediterranean nation is effectively “imprisoned inside a currency they should never have joined in the first place,” Farage added.