Premature Euro-Skeptics

Written by David Frum on Friday November 18, 2011

The New York Times' profile of Euro-skeptic Bernard Connolly--who warned early of the danger of creating a single currency for a polyglot continent--is one more reminder of the enduring force of the old common-law rule: truth is not only no defense; truth actually compounds libel.

People who know him say that his public reticence is also fed by a lingering anxiety that officials will exact some form of revenge.

The origins of that fear as well as the anger and passion that drive him date to 1995, when he took a leave from his job to write “The Rotten Heart of Europe,” an excoriating history of the failure of the euro’s predecessor, the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.

In Britain, where suspicions of common European economic policy ran very high, the book was a hit for its attacks on the architects of the European common currency, including Jacques Delors, the former head of the European Commission, and Jean-Claude Trichet, the French finance official who would go on to run the European Central Bank for eight years.

The book was greeted less enthusiastically in Brussels; Mr. Connolly was told not to return from leave to reclaim his position. Moreover, he was the subject of an investigation by the European Commission into whether he had disclosed any proprietary information in his book. Investigators found that he had not.