• Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook
  • Facebook

Search This Blog

Visit our new website.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Steinbrück envisages a Europe led by Franco-German-Polish axis (Hello Cameron!)

Peer Steinbruck laid out his foreign policy in a talk at Berlin's Free University

Peer Steinbrück , leader of Germany’s centre-left SPD Party, and Merkel’s main opposition in September’s elections, laid out his foreign policy in a speech yesterday. It could have been a bit of ‘a non-event’. Germany’s Europe policy can hardly be expected to change in terms of substance, regardless of whether or not Steinbrück seizes the chancellery from Merkel come September. 

Although Steinbrück is critical of elements of Merkel’s vision for Europe, when it comes to the nitty-gritty of substance he mostly agrees. This can be put down to the fact that the traditional conservatism of the German public is more deeply rooted than its occasional impetus for grand reforms.

Against this background, we were expecting a lot of rhetoric, but no grand revelations. But then Steinbrück said something interesting.

Discussing Europe’s role in the world, he called for a Franco-German-Polish axis to shape its future. “This triad of Germany, France and Poland must take the initiative for a new beginning of European foreign and security policy,” said Steinbrück.

The first point to make here is that while the Franco-German alliance in European affairs is nothing new (strained though that partnership may be at the moment) the allusion to Poland as European leader on the world stage is. (And is one that will please a certain Polish Foreign Minister.)

However, the most interesting part of Steinbrück’s speech was the country he did not mention when discussing Europe’s role in the world: the UK.

Whilst Angela Merkel has gone out of her way to point out the importance of the UK playing a leading role in Europe, Steinbrück said the future lies in a Berlin-Paris-Warsaw axis. A signal to London and David Cameron as the Conservative seek new EU membership terms? Possibly.

As we’ve argued before, if Steinbrück became Germany’s next chancellor, the general thrust of Germany’s eurozone politics will likely remain. That’s not big news. The real significance of a centre-left German coalition after the September election for the future of Europe may instead be Berlin being far less interested in striking a new Anglo-German bargain.

We dare to guess that Number 10 wasn’t entirely happy about Steinbrück’s remarks.


Quercynois said...

Germany and Poland as one, and soon after, France joined.

Déjà vu.

Denis Cooper said...

Hang about ... I distinctly recall the Tories saying that it would be good to have Poland in the EU to be our ally, not to line up with Germany and France against us.

Freedom Lover said...

Who cares? If a genuinely euro-sceptic Britain leaves the EU, then a Franco-German-Polish AXIS isn't our business at all. But as Cameron is in NO true way a euro-sceptic of any sort at all, then it might perhaps matter to him. Perhaps that's another reason, among hundreds, why he should be replaced ASAP as Britain's PM by a genuine euro-sceptic.

Not another false one, please, who's really a closet euro-phile. That sort have betrayed Britain so brutally so often over the last few years. We really do deserve better - & honest patriotism, instead of euro-phile deceit!

Anonymous said...

O futuro do projeto Europeu esta numa aliança reforçada de todos os estados membros da UE

christina speight said...

Just as the Elysee treaty broke the EU's treaty rules so does this quite open ganging-up.

No winder that the more you learn of the EU the more crooked it seems

Anonymous said...

Is he really saying that Europe should be led, in part, by a bankrupt (France) that has been leading Europe down the wrong path for 2-3 decades AND by a country where its own citizens leave as soon as they can for other EU nations, whilst at the same time holding out the begging bowl for more and more EU funds (Poland)?

Poland needs to get some self-respect and try contributing for once instead of taking all the time.

The only country of the 3 that is in any position to lead is Germany. But we have seen wehere they are leading us to since 2008.

Let them keep their rules and their Europe.



Gosporttory said...

The sooner we get out of this corrupt, profligate anti-democratic, EU Gravy Train the better. Furthermore the sooner we get a Tory as leader of the Conservative Party the better! Cameron's legacy will be the complete destruction of the Conservative Party. He prefers sucking up to the liberal socialists than listening to his own members and indeed the British people!