One of the European parliament’s most influential members, the German Christian Democrat Elmar Brok, has declared that Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the credit ratings of nine eurozone member states is part of a “currency war” being waged by the United States against the euro and Europe itself.
In an interview with the Germany daily Die Welt, Brok said that “the downgrade is a targeted attack on Europe by the American rating agency.” Insisting that there were no “plausible grounds” for the downgrades, Brok continued, “Consequently, the S&P downgrade is a matter of interests. They have declared a currency war on us.”
Asked whether he meant that the United States is “waging financial war“ on Europe, Brok specified, “Certain forces in the USA, in particular in the world of finance. It is evident that their one and only aim is in this way to promote Anglo-Saxon interests at Europe’s cost.” “They want to shatter the eurozone, in order to make money,” he added.
A member of the European Parliament since 1980, Brok is presently the foreign affairs spokesperson of the parliamentary group of the European People’s Party (EPP). The EPP, which includes the German Christian Democrats, has the largest group of deputies in the parliament. Brok was previously, from 1999 to 2007, chair of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee. According to EUobserver, he is expected to reclaim the latter post when committee chairs are reshuffled next week. The editors of Die Welt emphasize that he “is known as an excellent connoisseur of the USA.”
In the interview, Brok goes on to take the “Anglo-Saxon” media to task for presenting a “completely false picture of Europe.” He points the finger in particular at the role played by the “empire of the declared anti-European Rupert Murdoch.”
“For anything to change,” he continues, “German and other continental European publishing houses have to get together and create an English-language economic [news] agency, in order to present the European view of things….”
Simultaneously with his service in the European parliament, Brok has himself long been an employee of Germany’s and Europe’s largest media group: the privately-owned Bertelsmann company. In a 2004 interview with the German daily Die Tageszeitung, he insisted that he was able to fulfill both his parliamentary duties and his obligations to Bertelsmann by “working 15 to 18 hours a day.” In addition to its numerous German and European subsidiaries, Bertelsmann is also the parent company of the American publisher Random House. In declarations of financial interest submitted to the parliament, Brok has listed his position at Bertelsmann as “Senior Vice-President for Media Development.” In a more recent (June 2011) declaration, he lists his position simply as “advisor.”
Already in December, when Standard & Poor’s first announced that it was considering downgrading the credit rating of the eurozone states, Rainer Brüderle, a prominent member of the German Bundestag, suggested that American credit agencies were “conspiring” against the euro. (See here.) Standard & Poor’s is the same credit agency that in August of last year downgraded the credit rating of the United States.
John Rosenthal writes on European politics and transatlantic security issues. You can follow his work at www.trans-int.com or on Facebook.