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Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Anglo-German axis is stirring up emotions

The political repercussions of the recent EU budget agreement - when London and Berlin stood on the same side and Paris took itself out of the game - are still reverberating.

Yesterday, Former French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo told French radio RTL that the prospect of the Franco-German axis in Europe being replaced by an Anglo-German axis
“is extremely worrying. This means that we’re probably turning our back on the great European ambitions…This is an extremely important political and diplomatic shift.” 
Which is of course code for: 'France fears that the EU is becoming less French'.

Meanwhile, in a debate in the German Bundestag this morning, the SPD’s Chancellor Candidate Peer Steinbrück criticised Angela Merkel for engaging in an “unholy alliance” with David Cameron over the EU budget. He said,
“if you want more Europe in the future [Germany] needs partners who see its future in Europe.” 
FDP faction leader Rainer Brüderle immediately fired back, however, saying that,
“I am glad that our Chancellor Angela Merkel negotiated [in Brussels] and not Peer Steinbrück who sometimes is described as a diplomatic neutron bomb.” 
We shouldn't read too much into this stuff but, clearly, the changing Berlin-Paris-London dynamic is certainly stirring up emotions...


Denis Cooper said...

Given that the German political system appears to be dominated by eurofederalists it would cause me great concern if I believed that there really was an Anglo-German axis developing within the EU.

It could only mean that the covert eurofederalist Cameron was finding ways to collaborate with the overt eurofederalist Merkel to advance the cause of eurofederalism, when a patriotic British Prime Minister genuinely committed to our national sovereignty and democracy would be resolutely determined to oppose any move which could directly or indirectly assist that despicable anti-democratic cause.

Jesper said...

Nothing strange about this.

The French are in this respect no different than any other. As long as the standard they already use becomes the new EU-standard they're ok with it as nothing would change for them.

Germany is ok with more EU as long as more EU means that others will adapt to German standards.

I suspect that even UK might be ok with more EU if it meant that EU became more like the UK.

Will France continue to support centralisation of powers to Brussels if those powers will then force France to change?

Imposing standards and values on nations are rarely seen as a positive by the ones imposed upon.

The ever closer union, with no repatriation of powers possible, might soon start to sound ominous to France.

Rik said...

This is the kind of of stuff the EU should work on.
Makes imho also lateron enforcement internationally much easier as you can click that on to this. A patent holder is now backed by the EU iso a possibly small memberstate.
Also enforcement sanction in case of breaches will most likely become considerably easier.

You need a seperate court for this and specialised judges.
But as a legal system it would be great if as a 'Supreme Court' there is only one for all EU legal stuff.
The ECJ has however become a bit of a loose gun (and extend more or less standard everything pro more EU to the max). I am still doubting what would be the best thing as these 2 issues bite each other.
Probably best if the whole legal system is set up a new (but that is a real big project). Plus have a good look at the judges and the quality thereof. 1 or 2 months ago I saw an extended interview with the Greek (vice-?) president of the EU. The guy simply didnot understand relatively simple legal concepts. It is as with the whole joint and especially with the new countries in important functions people are appointed with nowhere near the skills required. And as said they usually come mainly from new countries. Every organisation has weak and strong staffmembers but with countries like Greece the percentage of incompetents is simply way too high. Kicking the incompetents out would save a lot in wages as well.

jon livesey said...

I have to say that Cameron impresses me more and more. In the past year he has managed to impose one veto, establish a good working relationship with Berlin and achieve a freeze in the EU budget.

I don't think this is an issue of personality, but simply a guy who recognizes when he has good cards to play, and who refuses to play the usual "hypnotized by the Sphinx" role British PMs often play.

Blair used to preach and annoy the other leaders, but then fold over important issues. Cameron does the exact opposite. It is really Cameron, not Blair, who understands "triangulation". He does enough to keep the head-bangers quiet, but aims to keep the UK inside the Single market.

Rik said...

The comment was supposed to be for the patentpost. My computer probably has been drinking he mixes screens up. Sorry for that.

This is an excellent example that shows Steinbruck really hasnot got a clue. With probably 70-80% of the Germans for budgetcuts you are not going to make an issue of it and state de facto you should have gone French. Plain stupid makes your Mr Ed looks like a brilliant politician.
He was kept a bit out of the spotlight because nearly everything he did ended in disaster. But fortunately he found another possibility to shoot himself in the foot.
Hard to see that Merkel will make these kind of mistakes. Starting from there and assuming that Steinbruck will keep shooting himself in the foot it is difficult to see that Merkel will lose the next election. Even when Europe should go bad Steinbruck has positioned himself as more Europe than Merkel so that would do him as much harm as her.

Question that come up:
-will the FDP make it to 5%? And if so will it be enough to have a majority? If not the SPD is by far the most likely alternative (and Germany likely ends up with this guy as finance minister.
-will Steinbruck be replaced? They probably would still have the time if they speeded things up. However the other candidates donot look much stronger. So as things are now probably not. But that means as mentioned earlier the SPD has their bet on a lame horse. And Steinbruck with his politically moronic behaviour might bump into an issue that is simply too big for him, as he simply has no talent whatsoever to avoid political calamities. And these things tend to happen on the worst possible time (say a few weeks before the election in the middle of the campaign as the pressure is max on the candidates.

christina speight said...

Jon livesey lives in another world from me it seems! He says " In the past year he has managed to impose one veto, establish a good working relationship with Berlin and achieve a freeze in the EU budget."

His "veto" turned out to be nothing of the sort as the others just went ahead without us anyway! Some veto! "A good relationship" ??? Well Denis Cooper sums that one up. Most of us trust Cameron so little that we stringly suspect a subterfuge by secretly bolstering the euro-federalist cause.. As for the budget this was mostly for the media. Nothing is settled yet and in the absence of an agreed settlement we just go on as we are PLUS a hefty percentage INCREASE for inflation. Meanwhile Cameron os doing nothing to counteract the EU's demand that the UKshould close down 1/3rd of our coal-fired power stations and ALL our oil ones. This will cause power failures by 2015 unless it is stopped NOW. The man's a walking disaster

Anonymous said...

Cameron is going to put himself at odds with his own people and electorate with his politiking. We do not want more Europe even if it takes a more pro-UK view.

We all know how easy it is for continental Europeans to behave like sheep or simply surrender their freedom. The democratic deficit needs to be closed but for me it is too late. I do not trust any of our politicians to do the right thing.