'More Europe!': Germany's battle-cry for the eurozone

 
Chancellor Angela Merkel and German foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at a Nato conference in Chicago in May 2012 Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle say the crisis needs "more Europe"

It is the rallying cry of Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel as she points to what she thinks is the way out of the euro mire.

"More Europe means that we must give up more powers to Europe," Mrs Merkel says.

She said it again after meeting the leaders of Spain, France and Italy in Rome: "The lesson of this crisis is more Europe, not less Europe."

But is Berlin's ceding power to Brussels also the route to a United States of Europe?

The Future Group

A picture of the German conception of Europe's future is emerging from the utterances of the German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, and through the newly published interim report of what is known as the Future Group, which he set up.

The proposals are:

• More European power to determine the economic and tax policies of the member states. There should be a "transfer of sovereignty" to the European centre

• A strengthening of the EU's "foreign office", with a common European foreign and security policy

• A smaller European Commission able to make decisions faster

• A bigger role for the European Parliament to make "stronger democratic legitimacy"

• A directly elected President of Europe

• A European army

United States of Europe?

So is it a USE - a United States of Europe? There are certainly similarities with the USA - with its central power over economics and common foreign policy.

Without saying United States of Europe, Mr Westerwelle justifies the move to "more Europe" by citing the current crisis in the eurozone.

Chancellor Merkel talks to British PM David Cameron in Berlin on 7 June Disconnect: Prime Minister Cameron sees too much integration as harmful

"It is the worst crisis that Europe has ever faced. We have to learn the right lessons from it. Decision-making in Europe is often too slow," he says.

"Unfortunately, a cold wind of repatriation is sweeping through the European Union. The grand idea of Europe is in danger."

He goes on: "But the truth is that we need more Europe, not less. Europe must stand up for itself, for the idea of cultural unity. Steps towards a genuine political union would make a tangible contribution to ending the crisis."

Mr Westerwelle has some weight behind him. A Future of Europe Group that he set up is made up of fellow foreign ministers from Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Poland.

It is not clear if France is in or out. It sent an official to the early meetings with a promise of a foreign minister after the election.

'Too fast, too far'

But 17 of the 27 countries in the European Union were left out, including Britain and Sweden which are both sceptical about more power going to Brussels.

Flags lines up outside the EU commission headquarters in Brussels More power for Europe or was it too far too fast?

One Swedish diplomat was quoted by Spiegel magazine as saying that the German foreign minister was not contributing to EU co-operation by leaving some countries out.

And it should be said that what Mr Westerwelle thinks is not always what Mrs Merkel thinks. He may be the foreign minister but he comes from a different party in the coalition.

But "more Europe" is their shared desire.

In Britain there is a view, certainly within the Conservative Party which dominates the coalition government, that the lesson to be drawn from the crisis is that European integration went too fast and too far.

In the Eurosceptic view, European integration was ill-advised because the peoples of Europe were not ready for it. They would baulk, so the argument runs, at being pushed and jostled towards a single identity.

In the German view, pushing towards a unified identity is precisely what now needs to be done.

Can they both stay in the same boat if they are rowing in opposite directions? Might they squabble and tip the whole thing over?

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 16.

    Who are these crooks destroying peoples lives with their ponzi backed economics?
    Who are the faceless scum giving these failed politicians their instructions?
    Vote for the puppet you want, it won't stop the misery of millions unfolding before your eyes...It's time for change.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 15.

    Why not an improved version of the Canadian type federation?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 14.

    Seriously doubting that they are seeking a solution. Smirkin' Merkel knows very well that more integration means a wealth transfer from Germany & that German law requires a yes vote on wealth transfer which just isnt going to happen. The rest should have some idea that voters will balk at Germany instructing budgets. This is just a preparation time for failure. They're all in a lose lose situation

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 13.

    Das Reich, the 4th.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 12.

    Herr Westerwelle says: "It is the worst crisis that Europe has ever faced." Er, I think you need to revise some of your own country's history there Guido...

    And as for leaving 17 of the 27 countries in the EU out of your cosy little 'A Future of Europe Group', how does that tally with your cry for 'more Europe'? Surely your actions denote less Europe?

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 11.

    Didn't a German leader,demand more power in 1939??.I personally cannot remember even being asked to vote,if i would like to be a member of the E.U.
    U.S.E (L.E.S.S).Our grandfathers,and Europe's are spinning in their graves..

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 10.

    That's a good idea....let’s do more of what caused the problem in the first place (Sarcasm). More Europe (the EZ) is why we have these problems...so let’s take a novel approach and revert back to fully independent sovereign nations who have fiscal control over their own finances and banking (can de-value, raise/lower interest rates to suit their own ends) and become a Common Market for trade.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 9.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to be holding all the cards - she presides over Europe's strongest economy and strongest government finances. Is there a danger that forcing Teutonic virtues on European economies might be the start of a new political agenda?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 8.

    Cheap words I fear. In a democratic Europe Germany would be out-voted on most economic policies. A directly elected president of Europe! By whom, and how? Can't see it happening, except by back-door politics. European army! And which country will supply the hardware? Who pays?

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 7.

    Many Europeans would gladly relinquish sovereignty to Europe, as they're fed up with their home grown political classes and the messes they've made (Greece, Spain, Italy, etc.), and they're longing for some of the german economic "magic" to touch their homelands, too.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 6.

    Cultural unity? This is Europe we're talking about. You have more cultures per square mile than anywhere else whose only common attribute is that they used to try to kill each other at the drop of a hammer.

    The solution to this crisis is less europe and the end of the Euro. Let the weaker countries float their currencies downwards.

    It is simply a mad power grab attempting to exploit despair.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 5.

    Is it worth mentioning how deeply ironic Merkel's latest attacks of oral flatulence are?
    "MORE EUROPE!" she shrieks, but when asked to her fellow Europeans to back up her words with actions, announces that any EU country with its economy in freefall can rot in hell for all she cares.
    What do you call someone who proclaims a course of action but doesn't carry it out again? Oh yes, pro-EU.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 4.

    Let them get on with it, once the German people understand they will never get their money back, I am sure they will be over the moon in giving more support to the PIGS - NOT

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 2.

    People fear talking about a 2 speed europe but as I'm sure non-Euro countries won't want a fiscal union then I think two types of european membership are crucial - we basically already have it with Euro and non-Euro countries - that can just be extended. Everyone still enjoys the benefit of a single homogenised market (CE mark) across both groups.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 1.

    " Europe must stand up for itself, for the idea of cultural unity".

    The EU dreamers want 'cultural unity'. The majority of people of Europe want nothing of the sort.

    The same way that we were all told 'the people of the UK are crying out for electoral reform' .... er, no we weren't.

 

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