Culture & ideas Ideas

New Year's Quiz: 40 trick questions about Europe

31 December 2012
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung Frankfurt

Ticking the right box: Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Bundestag in December 2012.
Ticking the right box: Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Bundestag in December 2012.

Three years of the euro crisis, 2013 is around the corner, and you still have some questions? So does essayist Hans Magnus Enzensberger. The outspoken critics of the Brussels bureaucracy has been inspired to draw up a quiz – with, of course, entirely objective questions. Have fun!

What’s it all about when an intelligent woman occupying a high position claims: “If the euro fails, Europe fails”?

1. A threat? Yes ☐ No ☐

2. A defensive statement? Yes ☐ No ☐

3. Or just a piece of stupidity? Yes ☐ No ☐

4. Do you feel that our continent still exists much as it always has, despite the reality that over the last two thousand years, the talent, the denarius, the guilder, the lira, the lepton and the Reichsmark have all perished? Yes ☐ No ☐

5. Do you know who invented the abbreviation “euro”, which before the end of the twentieth century no one had ever had to mouth? Yes ☐ No ☐

6. Are you capable of deciphering acronyms such as ECB, EFSF, ESM, EBA and IMF? Yes ☐ No ☐

7. Do you suspect that most European countries for quite some time have no longer been governed by democratically elected bodies, but are ruled by these acronyms? Yes ☐ No ☐

8. Have you voted for these ‘facilities’? Yes ☐ No ☐

9. Are they mentioned in the Constitution or in any other European constitution? Yes ☐ No ☐

10. Have you been notified in the past few years that there is “no alternative” to the decisions of these institutions? Yes ☐ No ☐

11. Are homeless persons, drug abusers, wage earners or retirees not entitled to “sign up for” their financial fix, but members of the euro group and bank executives are? Yes ☐ No ☐

12. Is this demand met on a regular basis? Yes ☐ No ☐

13. Have you recently come up against the technical term “financial repression”? Yes ☐ No ☐

If so, does it mean:

14. Pension cuts? Yes ☐ No ☐

15. Tax hikes? Yes ☐ No ☐

16. Debt write-offs? Yes ☐ No ☐

17. Compulsory levies? Yes☐ No ☐

18. Inflation? Yes ☐ No ☐

19. Currency reforms? Yes ☐ No ☐

20. Do you know the name and exact address of the “markets” that tell the euro rescuers what they have to do? Yes ☐ No ☐

21. Must the Coast Guard continue to screen whether passengers in distress are “system-relevant” before they can be saved? Yes ☐ No ☐

Do you agree with the following views?

22. “Power is the privilege of not having to learn.” (Karl German, 1912-1993.) Yes ☐ No ☐

23. “Life without a Constitutional Court is possible, but pointless.” (Loriot Mops) Yes ☐ No ☐

24. “We decide on something, put it on the table and wait a while to see what happens. If there is no hue and cry and no uprisings, because most people have no idea about what has been decided, then we carry on – step by step, until there is no turning back.” (Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the Euro Group, 1999.) Yes ☐ No ☐

25. “Politicians are like bad horsemen who are so busy keeping themselves in the saddle that they can no longer worry about the direction they are riding in.” (Joseph A. Schumpeter, 1944.) Yes ☐ No ☐

26. Did the European Commission know what was meant by the word “subsidiarity”? If so, has it forgotten it? Yes ☐ No ☐

What does the term “quantitative easing” mean?

27. A yoga exercise? Yes ☐ No ☐

28. The acceleration of the printing press? Yes ☐ No ☐

29. Is the constitutional judge Gusy from Bielefeld right to say: “Where there is a trough, pigs will gather”? Yes ☐ No ☐

30. Does the blossoming metaphorical speechifying of the saviours of the euro make you feel all cosy and warm inside, or does it come across to you as somewhat menacing, confusing or just plain ridiculous? Are you in a position to distinguish precisely between ‘umbrellas’, ‘levers’, ‘bazookas’, ‘Big Berthas’, ‘firewalls’ and ‘aid packages’? Yes ☐ No ☐

31. Do you feel coddled in the confidence that Karl Valentin summed up in the words: “I hope it is not as bad as it already is”? Yes ☐ No ☐

32. If it turns out that introducing a new paper currency has led not to the integration of Europe but to its sundering, and led not to understanding but to hatred and mutual resentment, would it appear advisable to abandon this position, or invoke the motto “close your eyes and carry on down the same road”? Yes ☐ No ☐

33. Or is that impossible because it would mean that a [narcissistic disorder afflicts the responsible politicians] (883411)? Yes ☐ No ☐

34. Is there a Europe this side of the EU institutions and their 40,000 officials, or are they the sole representatives of our continent, the only ones whose voices matter? Yes ☐ No ☐

35. Are these the people who have the right to decide who is to be considered “anti-European”? Yes ☐ No ☐

36. Do you grasp why the European politicians handle the Treaty of Rome and the Maastricht Treaty as if they had never actually signed them? Yes ☐ No ☐

37. Do you believe that referenda and elections annoy them because any expression by the population could disrupt their efforts to reassure the “markets”? Yes ☐ No ☐

38. Is democracy really such a bad idea that it can be dispensed with when necessary? Yes ☐ No ☐

39. Does the example of China not show that without democracy, in the age of globalisation, one can still become a successful world power? Yes ☐ No ☐

40. Accordingly, is the political disenfranchisement of citizens inevitable, and is their economic dispossession the necessary consequence of that? Yes ☐ No ☐

HM Enzensberger’s Euro Quiz will be published in February 2013 as a preface to a new book by economist Joachim Starbatty Tatort Europe (Crime scene Europe).

Factual or translation error? Tell us.