Secret Meetings, Open Lies11. May 2011 by Herman Brodie
The blogosphere is bristling with phony indignation because Jean-Claude Juncker, or at least the spokesman for the Luxemburg prime minister, lied about there being a secret meeting of EU finance ministers to consider a Greek exit from the eurozone last Friday. As it turned out, a meeting had been convened, but Guy Schuller, Junker’s spokesman, categorically denied it when quizzed by news agencies. However, instead of eating humble pie (made, perhaps, with the egg wiped from his face) Juncker brashly defended the act with vague appeals to the greater good. Indeed, this was not the first time the politician has confessed to ‘having to lie’ in order not to feed rumours.
Leaving aside the Cretan Paradox – ‘Juncker has to lie’ – or any moral judgement, one has to ask why it was necessary to lie this time and what conclusions one should draw from the act. Everyone knows that Greece is experiencing severe financial difficulties, so it is normal that finance ministers meet to discuss a solution, as they have done over the past year. Why lie?
Ministers might have agreed to keep all Greece-related meetings secret, even at the cost of an occasional fib. This means the Juncker pretence was totally banal for him. But it also means that all the information that we have received from EU finance ministries concerning the real situation is Greece is similarly untrustworthy. Alternatively, this could have been the first lie on this issue. In this case, there must be something unprecedented brewing now to justify the shift in tactic. Either way, we have something to worry about that cannot be dismissed with a shrug of the ministerial shoulders.