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Community Commentary: The new, conservative Europe

January 21, 2012|By Chriss Street

Europe's Leftist elites championed the introduction of the euro to "increase political cohesion" by building on the "cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe." But according to Evans-Ambrose Pritchard of the London Telegraph, as a result of that cohesion "almost 97% of the European Union's population is now governed by conservative or Right-leaning coalitions or EU-imposed mandarins:

"The whole machinery of the European Union (EU) system is under the control of the Right, with variants of Rhenish corporatism in the Council, and pre-modern Hayekians at the European Central Bank (ECB). Whether you regard this Hegelian ascendancy as good or bad, it certainly has profound consequences.

"For just as former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher protested at Bruges that 'we have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them reimposed at a European level,' the Left might equally protest that they have not fought the long, hard struggle for worker rights in their own democracies to see social welfare rolled back by Brussels and Frankfurt."

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Pritchard offers numerous examples of the ascendancy of conservative Europe. The most dramatic change is taking place in Italy, where the ECB forced the resignation of elected Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his replacement with the ECB's hand-picked technocrat, Mario Monti.

Embattled by credit downgrades on Europe's second-most indebted nation, and the doubling of interest rates, the Italian public has turned to the conservatives out of fears Italy might be the next nation to fall into Greek-style chaos. This morning, 85% of the Italian Parliament approved a $39-billion austerity budget that cut pensions, increased primary residence taxes and cracked down on tax evaders.

"We had to act in a hurry," Labor and Welfare Minister Elsa Fornero told state-run television regarding Italian public finances. "We have been called to the sick-bed of a very ill man."

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