Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bismarck? Really?

Arnaud Montebourg wants to raise the temperature between France and Germany. He's accusing Merkel of conducting a "Bismarckian policy," denying Germany's economic "virtues," and blaming German intransigence for the euro's difficulties. As always with Montebourg, the truth in his critiques is tainted by the rhetorical excess. But Montebourg's extravagance is only one of many signs of heightened nationalist tensions in Europe. The euro crisis has broken the taboo, which has largely held since World War II, against attributing policy differences to national character and ulterior designs rather than to identifiable interests. The problem in France is that Montebourg's tactics serve the Front National more than the PS, despite his ostensible commitment to Hollande's campaign. Mediapart features an interview with Emmanuel Todd, who, like Montebourg, is an economic nationalist and protectionist, who would like to push the PS toward Mélenchon's anti-Europe position.

Hollande may think he can blur the lines on such policy differences. He ran the PS by never forcing things to a head. But the presidency is different. He can't--or, rather, he shouldn't--tolerate such open dissent by a prominent spokesman from what I take to be his pro-Europe policy, which requires striking a workable compromise with Germany rather than blasting "the Hun" for having designs on European hegemony via the euro.

ADDENDUM: Hollande himself attacked Merkel yesterday:
«Je n'accepterai jamais qu'au nom du contrôle des budgets nationaux, au nom de la coordination des politiques budgétaires, la Cour de justice européenne puisse être juge des dépenses et recettes d'un Etat souverain», a-t-il déclaré, en référence à l'un des scénarios que Berlin tente d'imposer.

2 comments:

Cincinna said...

«Je n'accepterai jamais qu'au nom du contrôle des budgets nationaux, au nom de la coordination des politiques budgétaires, la Cour de justice européenne puisse être juge des dépenses et recettes d'un Etat souverain»

Bravo Hollande! Giving up one's national sovereignty to a centralized bureaucracy is never a good idea. I just hope he is speaking out of serious conviction, not just pandering.

Mitch Guthman said...

I do not often agree with Cincinna on political matters, but his time I must. There is something really troubling going on here. Basically Angela Merkel, Mario Draghi and maybe Sarkozy are negotiating with themselves over the future of Europe. What kind of a union of democratic countries is it when the people of Europe or even their elected representatives have no say in the way forward for the eurozone? The consent of the governed does not seem to enter into their thinking at all . I'm not happy with either Merkel or Germany. I think Mario Drahi should be replaced.

Obviously the leadership of the PS isn't happy with these people either. So why shouldn’t they speak out against what is going on with Germany and the euro? If they want to lead France they need to speak up about the issues of importance to the French people.

My own very strongly held view is that the EU needs more democracy, not less.