Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Germany Pushes for Closer Political Union

Germany has quietly begun negotiations aimed at creating a closer political union and more powerful central government in Europe:

Ainsi, le groupe Westerwelle sur « le futur de l’Europe », institué à l’initiative du ministre des affaires étrangères allemand, au début de l’année, a rédigé un rapport rendu public le 17 septembre (ici en anglais .pdf). Outre l’Allemagne, les Pays-Bas, la Belgique, le Luxembourg, le Portugal, l’Espagne, l’Italie, l’Autriche, la Pologne et le Danemark ont envoyé leur chef de la diplomatie pour participer activement à ces travaux ouverts aux bonnes volontés. La France n’a rejoint cette enceinte informelle que tardivement, au lendemain de l’élection de François Hollande, et seulement à titre « d’observateur ».

1 comment:

bert said...

There's rather less to this than meets the eye, I think. This would be a 'core Europe' deal, and on the issue of foreign policy integration, the Franco-German motor is misfiring.

On the German side, it's the personal initiative of Guido Westerwelle. He is Germany's answer to Nick Clegg, a question precisely nobody is asking. On current polls he will lose his seat in parliament next year, which under the German system requires quite epic levels of uselessness. Yes, there are serious discussions currently underway in Germany about further integration. All of these discussions focus on the economy. While perennial German resentment of the arrangements at the UN Security Council continue to simmer pointlessly away, the appetite for a meaningful european great leap forward on foreign policy integration is vanishingly small.

On the French side, the Sarkozists wanted nothing to do with this ahead of the election. The Libyan intervention went ahead with zero EU involvement. The gaullist view, which commands solid majority support across the party divide, is that foreign policy is for nation states. Hollande appointed as Foreign Minister the man who split the Socialist Party on the issue of the Lisbon Treaty, and backed him up with a Europe Minister who shares his anti-integrationist outlook.

The Westerwelle group has published a report. It has no official standing, and will now gather dust.