The UK has done the right thing in walking out of the European Union, Jake van der Kamp, a financial columnist with the South China Morning Post said. Writing in his column, the former journalist and investment analyst said the EU had inflicted self-harm over a 24-year period since the Maastricht Treaty was signed.
Van der Kamp, described as Asia's most prominent financial affairs columnist, said that he believes that in a few years' time, British voters will say, "Whew, we got out of that one just in time, didn't we? Imagine what would have happened to us if we were still there when it blew up."
He wrote: "The trouble with the EU is that it doesn't listen to its own people and doesn't obey its own rules. " He notes that the Maastricht Treaty was rejected in a referendum by 63% of Dutch voters, 55% of French voters and 52% of Irish people.
"The Irish were told to vote again and the French and Dutch voters were simply ignored, with Maastricht provisions they had rejected sneaked into the later Treaty of Lisbon."
He also pointed out that the economic policies "that were so carefully crafted over 50 years are as easily abandoned in just as many seconds. In Brussels everything stands to be sacrificed to the immediately expedient."
He blames it on bureaucrats in Brussels who "have long stopped their ears to advice from anyone outside of their own small coterie."
He highlighted the average government debt to GDP across the EU stands at 90.7%. This is in stark contrast to the Treaty in which member countries are obliged to restrain government debts to no more than 60% of GDP and their fiscal deficits to no more than 3% of GDP.
Some member states still have higher ratios, with Greece at 179, Italy at 133, Portugal at 129, Belgium at 106, Spain at 99 and France at 96. He said the average in fiscal deficit was brought below 3%, thanks to the fiscal surplus in Germany but that "the usual culprits all still show deficits of more than 3%. In fact, he said some member countries never brought the figure down to under 3% as required in the Treaty.
Van der Kamp pointed out that the European Central Bank was tasked specifically to concern itself with the soundness of the euro and to turn a deaf ear to government pleas for debt relief. However, it has now become a "welfare dispenser to profligate member governments that had driven themselves to fiscal trouble."
He lambasted the ECB for adopting the US style of quantitative easing with enormous injections of liquidity to keep interest rates artificially low. "As a result, the governments of Spain and Italy, among others, are now able to roll over long term borrowings at less than 2% although they have no plans for getting out of their fiscal swamps, nor show any inclination to do so."
He warned that "this is a madness that can only end in disaster. It's like dousing fire with gasoline. The longer it goes on the bigger the ECB bets must become and if it goes on much longer the inevitable explosion will destroy the euro."