'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
    +4

    Comment number 36.

    The European project has to be considered as an utmost complex and ambitous one. This taken into account no one should be surprised by being confronted with a lot of obstacles previously not exactly defined.
    It is just a matter of trial and error. So keep going.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 35.

    We keep hearing about ”growth”, ”austerity”, and ”integration”. Why is the word ”competitiveness” so absent?

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 34.

    Hopefully the UK will get out of the EU.

    Anyway, in WWII they "turned Germany into a desert" like Churchill said with Sir "Bomber/Slaughter" Harris´ "Bomber Directive", a systemic genocide of Germans civilians, mostly women, children, old and refugess.

    Then the UK´s crazy invasion in Iraq to get the oil, troubles with Argentina over Falklands, with Spain over Gibraltar...

    PLEASE STAY AWAY!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 33.

    The European 'Dream' by those unelected faceless crooks has been nothing but a nightmare.
    Soverign lands have been fleeced, to be left under sentence from the loansharks.
    How much is now being invested on 'secrurity' by governments now that they subjects are jobless, hungry and angry?

  • Comment number 32.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 31.

    @25

    I think you will that it is the EU that has a specific propaganda fund designed to extoll its virtues to all non believers!

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 30.

    If you look at the map of Europe in 1944, it is mostly one colour and managed from one central location. I guess by the standards of the secret club trying to force the EU upon us, Hitler's only crime was that he didn't manage to successfully get Sweden, Russia, Switzerland and the UK to join.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 29.

    Not sure why we're all so worried about a closer political and fiscal unity with our European cousins. Are the German's or French any less patriotic than us British? What are we scared of? Do our elected politicians here consider popular opinion? It's a game of keeping the boys and girls from the same families in continuous control. Regardless of opinion, debate, or sense.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 28.

    Michael Portillo had it right last night after Question Time;

    (a) Either we have a United States Of Europe

    or

    (b) The Euro fails and every country leaves

    God help us if it's option (a).

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 27.

    I'm not sure 'our partners' actually pay that much attention to this kind of euro-waffle. They know how and where the real decisions are made.

    We're not great at this game. We bluster at the time, but begrudgingly play by the rules later, which results in tension and less influence.

    Remember, the euro is a political idea(l), not necessarily a democratic one.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 26.

    If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck it's probably a duck.
    Give it any name you want but this is a serious push for a Federal Europe. After all, so far as the Germans are concerned a Federation has worked for them , why not for Europe?
    Sadly, the mere matter of overcoming centuries of distrust and nationalistic self- interest.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 25.

    @22

    Because the evidence really is that over the years the British public has been subjected to so much anti-EU propaganda that your average Brit will without thinking it through, follow conditioned behaviour of acting hostile towards anything EU and believe almost any anti-EU lie they are told.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 24.

    That was the whole scheme from the start of the eurocrisis. Let countries like Greece and Spain fall down the abyss knowingly, and then take over the steeringwheel. More Europe? Nonsense. More power to the eurocrats like Merkel and Westerwelle. They are already laughing all the way to the bank to cash in their money. This was not the original idea of the founders of the EEC. It must be stopped.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 23.

    What is clear from the current crisis is that this 'form' of European Government/centralisation does not work. Britain has remained sceptical of the plan because its half hearted and neither one thing or another. What European governments needs to decide is whether they want European integration and a single USE, or whether they just want a free trade agreement. I would vote for a USE!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 22.

    @18

    So one cannot be hostile to plans for a european political union unless brainwashed? Convenient.

    The EU as is is still to out benefit, but I don't want to go as far as they seem to want. A message of there being little choice does not win me over either.

    Maybe staying out will be a mistake, one day, but best not to go in now if at its core we do not support the endgame in mind.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 21.

    Thanks god the UK stays away from the Eurozone!

    As Churchill officially declared "Germany must be turned into a desert, yes, a desert" - put into action by Sir "Bomber/Slaughter" Harris "Bombing Directive", a systematic genocide of German civilians with hundreds of thousands victims, Germany will not face ane easy "partner".

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 20.

    More Europe?

    OK.

    More cash!

    Why are the German people so keen to subsidise the rest of Europe?

    What's in it for them?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 19.

    The EU is an expensive experiment which the countries of Europe cannot afford it has failed. Indeed the extreemly low turnout in European elections attests to the total disinterest in a parliament which is simply an expensive white elephant which gives the EU a veneer of democracy

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 18.

    The proposals sound sensible and should be beneficial to all involved. But I’m sure us Brits have been brainwashed with enough anti-EU lies and half truths that we will still react stupidly and hostile towards them all.

    But don’t worry; I’m sure that a certain Australian born American has Britain’s best interests at heart with his anti-Europe campaign.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 17.

    @ 5.legasud

    She already gave away a lot of wealth to back up weaker economies. What she asked for was fiscal discipline because those weaker members even now are spending more than they have, what means that Germans will infinitely work to bail them out.

 

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