Saturday, February 9, 2013

No Joy on the Seine

Nathalie Dubois and Jean Quatremer pull no punches: at the EU summit, David Cameron was the "winner by a knockout," and François Hollande, fresh from his "victory" in Mali, found himself face to the mat. This is hardly good news for "Europe," if there are any "good Europeans" left to care. And in any case the agreement may be short-lived because of opposition in the Parliament, as I reported yesterday:
Mais l’accord péniblement arraché vendredi est peut-être mort-né. Car le président du Parlement européen, le socialiste allemand Matin Schulz, a immédiatement annoncé que l’accord serait rejeté par les eurodéputés. C’est en juillet que, pour la première fois, le Parlement aura un droit de veto sur le budget pluriannuel de l’UE, en vertu du traité de Lisbonne. Face aux égoïsmes nationaux, l’hémicycle européen se présente comme ultime rempart de l’intérêt général européen, le président de la Commission, José Manuel Barroso, ayant abdiqué face aux gouvernements. Dans un communiqué commun, les leaders des quatre groupes politiques PPE (conservateurs), PSE (socialistes), ALDE (libéraux) et Verts ont donc annoncé leur rejet de ce budget d’austérité.
The joke has long been that Europe had no telephone number to call in case of emergency. Henceforth it will have no telephone, because the member states are unwilling to foot the bill.

"The Problem in Europe Is That We Are Not Alone"

“The problem in Europe is that we are not alone, so this is not the agreement I wanted,” Mr. Hollande said. But he described the deal as “the best possible under current constraints and circumstances.”
Yes, that about says it all. François Hollande would have liked a deal in which France agreed with itself about the future of Europe. After all, that is the way it used to be. Or occasionally there would be some historic compromise with Germany. But as long as the two major European powers had it their way, Paris had no problem with "integration" or "cooperation." Now, however, our European statesmen have discovered that they "are not alone," and François Hollande in particular has discovered that he is not alone, although he predicated his campaign on the notion that everything could be renegotiated once he was in power. At last, the truth has struck home. We are not alone, we must somehow make do with the death grip that austerity ideology has on too many European policy makers, and if there is a way out of this crisis, it is going to have to be found not with but in spite of the European Uniion.