If you want the state of Europe in a nutshell, skip the German election coverage and consider this news item from the south of France: a fellow in Marseilles is being charged with fraud because he lived with the dead body of his mother for five years in order to continue receiving her pension of 700 euros a month.
She was 94 when she croaked, so she’d presumably been enjoying the old government cheque for a good three decades or so, but her son figured he might as well keep the money rolling in until her second century and, with her corpse tucked away under a pile of rubbish in the living room, the female telephone voice he put on for the benefit of the social services office was apparently convincing enough. As the Reuters headline put it: “Frenchman lived with dead mother to keep pension.”
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That’s the perfect summation of Europe: welfare addiction over demographic reality.
Think of Germany as that flat in Marseilles, and Mr Schröder’s government as the stiff, and the country’s many state benefits as that French bloke’s dead mum’s benefits…
Will Franklin at WILLisms has much more on the Failing Europe Syndrome, today.