Europe, the German Way (II)

BERLIN/FRANKFURT-MAIN |

BERLIN/FRANKFURT-MAIN (Own report) - Following the German victory at the Euro Crisis Summit, Berlin has been preparing the next steps for expanding its unabashed hegemony over Europe. An option, permitting direct intervention into the national budgets of indebted countries, is to be inscribed as soon as possible in EU treaties. This would remove key aspects of state activity from democratic control and expose, particularly the southern Euro countries to Berlin's permanent direct interventions. At the same time, the German government is pushing the transformation of the Eurozone into a future core Europe. Just last week, the non-Euro countries - including Great Britain - were excluded from significant summit decisions. Experts see this as creating a two-speed Europe, and warn that Berlin, in light of German predominance, should not become "the new Brussels." German media has been accompanying Berlin's summit victory with vociferous jubilation and even blatant chauvinism, giving an idea of the true character of Berlin's emerging domination.

Budget Imposition

Following its victory at the Euro Crisis Summit last week,[1] Berlin's envisaged steps to broaden its unabashed hegemony include the option of direct intervention in national budgets of other Euro countries. The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs published plans to this effect already before the summit. According to these plans, the imposition of a budget on indebted Eurozone countries should be made possible under certain circumstances. The Foreign Ministry diplomatically expressed that, as a last resort, it could be imaginable that Brussels even "actively supports" the governments in question in the implementation of their "administrative measures," meaning, for example, the cuts in social benefits.[2] Sovereign budget planning is one of the fundamental elements of parliamentary democracies. The plan put forward by the government of the Netherlands, calling for the right of intervention in national budgets being transferred to an EU "Stability Commissioner" has met with Berlin's rejection. Berlin opposes this idea because an "intervention" in the German budget cannot be ruled out with formal certainty. The German Bundestag's budgetary autonomy should not be interfered with, according to the justification given for the rejection. Nevertheless, it could be imagined that the EU's "Stability Commissioner" would halt EU payments to renitent countries, according to the German Foreign Ministry. This would seriously prejudice the poorer countries of Southern Europe.

Peace in Europe

The German Chancellor declared that the so-called right of intervention should be inscribed in the EU treaties. If Berlin is successful with this demand, all 27 EU member nations must initiate the ratification processes. Because a clear rejection is to be expected from at least some of the populations - not only the Greek, but, for example, also the British - referenda must be strictly avoided. The German Chancellor once again [3] links Berlin's demands to hardly-veiled threats. Last Wednesday, October 26, 2011, she literally declared in the German Bundestag, "In conclusion, a personal note: No one should believe that another half-century of peace and prosperity in Europe is a matter of course. It is not. And therefore I say, if the Euro fails, Europe fails and that should not be allowed to happen."

The German Eurozone

Alongside plans for budgetary interference, the German government is obviously promoting the transformation of the Eurozone into a future core Europe, boding serious consequences. Already at the Euro Crisis Summit last week, non-Euro countries - including Great Britain and Poland - were excluded from decision making, even though these decisions were very significant for the EU, as a whole. The justification given was that, decisions concerning the Euro could only be made by countries with the Euro. This, according to experts, creates a sort of two-speed Europe. On the one side, one can speak of a "German Eurozone." Berlin is in the process of "becoming the new Brussels." The "German Eurozone" could "turn into a magnet," attracting always more countries, if it moves closer to both fiscal and political union. On the other hand, a second circle is developing, comprised of EU member states without the Euro, whose total disengagement must be prevented. But if one is able to stabilize this second circle, it would then be possible to make things easier for countries such as the Ukraine and Turkey to join the EU.[4] Like, for example, Great Britain and Poland, they would only have insignificant influence on essential decisions made in the "German Eurozone."

Not Going All Out

German media has been accompanying Berlin's summit victory with vociferous jubilation and even blatant chauvinism. For example, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), which is being carefully read by the German elite, writes that during the debates in Brussels, "the Greeks" had "not gone all out on the questions of their destiny, so at one point in the course of the evening, the conduct of the negotiations was taken out of their hands." Following the summit, the Greek prime minister thanked his country's population "for its willingness to make sacrifices."[5] The so-called Troika comprised of the EU, IMF and the ECB (European Central Bank) will maintain a "permanent presence in the country to make sure that the Greeks are really reforming their country."

The Stringent Chancellor

The Italian Prime Minister, the FAZ writes, "came to Brussels with a 15 page letter," in which "he describes his country's future reforms" - "as ordered by Ms Merkel and Sarkozy."[6] "The stringent chancellor" noted "benevolently" that Rome vowed to reduce its debts. "And otherwise" Italy's letter "neatly lists timeframes and numbers," so that "the 'chiefs' could express their friendly approval and, at most, remark that what counts now is the implementation." The journal continues, "the EU Commission has been ordered to keep an eye on everything, just to make sure."

As a Prelude

In regards to the exclusion of non-Euro countries, including Great Britain and Poland, from central decisions during the Euro Crisis Summit, the FAZ writes that "coming to Brussels for two hours, to provide a prelude to a major Euro bailout summit, is 'psychologically not that easy' for people like British Prime Minister Cameron, remarked a functionary from one of the Euro countries."[7] "It is a novelty in the history of the integration that some of the heads of states and governments have to wait for an important EU decision like the ordinary citizens." Such as, for example, the Polish Prime Minister, who complained: "I cannot be guessing at the outcome. We will know it in a few hours." However, the man could "console" himself, writes the FAZ, with the fact that "in a few years Poland will become a member of the Eurozone", and will then be allowed to participate in the decision-making.

Europe's Chancellor

At the beginning of this year, Germany's leading foreign policy magazine "Internationale Politik" had already anticipated the conditions now in development - at the time, provoking, but today, seen quite realistically. At the time, "Internationale Politik" proclaimed Angela Merkel, "Chancellor of the EU," who successfully established a sort of "authority to set guidelines" in the "circle of 27 heads of states and governments." Looking at the EU leadership as a "government," one could "allot roles." The French president "doubtlessly has the role of vice-chancellor," who can "take initiatives," but "in cases of conflict, can always be reined in by the chancellor." EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy sort of has the role of a "Head of the Federal Chancellery", who must "seek a balance between the various camps", and "thereby always runs the risk (...) of being abruptly corrected by the head of government or her vice." (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[8]) This is a surprisingly realistic description of the current constellation.

[1] s. dazu Europa auf deutsche Art (I)
[2] Westerwelle fordert Möglichkeit von Staatsinsolvenzen; www.sueddeutsche.de 21.10.2011
[3] see also A Question of Peace or War in Europe and Management with a Crowbar
[4] Germany in Europe: the Euro matters in foreign policy; ecfr.eu 28.10.2011
[5], [6], [7] Angstfrei die Freiwilligkeit erzwungen; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 28.10.2011
[8] see also Europe's Chancellor