A lovely little bit of news comes from the Financial Times today. The European Central Bank, champions of fiscal austerity across a continent, has been giving Romania an earful for hitting employees of the country’s central bank with a 25% pay cut. “In a strongly-worded statement,” the FT writes, “the ECB on Monday warned that Romania’s actions violated European Union treaties allowing monetary authorities to operate freely and without political interference.”
Let’s remember that this May Bucharest went on a public service slasher that would have had austerity zealots thrumming exquisitely at such innovations in fiscal pain. But while the ECB has absolutely nothing to say on the impoverishment of teachers and nurses, etc, its lower lips trembles when the budget machetes come down on colleagues. As the FT respectfully points out, the “ECB’s stance could trigger criticism that it sees central bankers as exempt from public spending cuts.” Less respectfully you could argue that the ECB’s attitude is entirely consistent with a union that preaches the bonkers economics of austerity while keeping its own institutions austerity free. As a quiet, ineluctable brazilification of a continent takes hold like so much CO2, you simply must look after your own.