Forty-three years ago today -- at the age of fourteen -- I created a country. I ceded our summer cottage island from Canada, hoisted the national flag (sown on a pillow case by my mother) and declared Bumpalump to be a distinct entity. Ottawa raised no objection (at least the Department of External Affairs didn’t reply to my declaration of independence). No gunboat appeared on the horizon. No UN peace keepers were airlifted in for conflict resolution sessions. My family and our neighbours simply gathered at the waterside to sing Bumpalump Forever!, affirming our attachment to the place, and our wish to live together in peace and harmony (at least until the end of the holidays).
On this auspicious day, it is worth reminding ourselves that the European Union is not much older than Bumpalump, and that monetary union is much, much younger. Hence, given the nuance and niceties of diplomatic protocol, I trust it will not be considered presumptuous of me – as Bumpalump’s serving Prime Minister since 1968 -- to propose a solution to the Euro crisis.
Germany should leave the Euro. Such a move would cause the Euro to collapse in value, giving the troubled economies of Greece, Spain and Italy the financial opportunity to stabilise themselves. Their debt could be restructured. Their exports would expand. Foreigners would snatch up their investment properties, eager to buy at bargain prices. Prosperity would return to southern Europe.
Germany on the other hand would have a rough time. At first. The reintroduced Deutsche Mark would soar in value. German products would become more expensive to foreigners and exports would collapse. Industry would suffer, and need to reinvent itself (again). But the trillions of Euros now pouring away to the edges of the Union could be redirected to finance that reinvention, giving Germany – and so all of Europe – a huge advantage in its competition for world market share.
I should point out that I’m no economist. The currency of my country, Bumpalump, is freshwater clam shells. But even I know that clam shells – like the Euro – are not available in an endless supply. I also know that far more important than the Euro is the preservation of the Union, and its remarkable accomplishments: the maintenance of peace between member states, and the free movement of people, goods and services across the continent.
The Bumpalump Proposal – as I have dubbed this innovative (and totally batty) scheme – could save Europe, and keep Germany at its centre – without it being part of monetary union. Like Britain. If such an eventuality came to pass then -- on every August 9th -- people across continent would stand up and sing together Bumpalump Forever!, thanking their lucky stars that they were saved from having to trade in clam shells.
Note: the views expressed in this post are those of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bumplump only. They are certainly not those of the Goethe-Institut, or of the government of Germany. Yet.