Thursday, 1 September 2011

Merkel's Germany in Europe

Update: I have posted a readable version of this article on Grahnlaw Suomi Finland, because my first experience with the new Blogger interface resulted in the text "sausage" below, and I was unable to create separate paragraphs to make the text readable. On 28 May 2009 I posted the text of chancellor Angela Merkel's speech at the Humboldt University on Europe in the blog post Merkel's Germany: The European mainstream? The following day I wrote an entry with my impressions: And Quiet Flows the Spree – Merkel's Germany in the EU. The tenor of the address, as I saw it:
The first things that come to mind are the limits set by Merkel, on the scope of the speech and the European agenda.
For Merkel, the European Union seemed to be very much a union of heads of state and government – first of all those of Germany and France – assisted by their governments. Despite this predominantly intergovernmental view, shared by most national governments in the EU member states, Merkel must have known how brittle the hopes of effective international action and internal reform on energy and other crucial issues are, but she offered no visions beyond the Lisbon Treaty. Later crises Since then, we have entered the second global financial crisis. The Lisbon Treaty has entered into force, and events have proven its shortcomings, but the Franco-German ”engine” is still focused on looking for intergovernmental solutions within the scope of the current treaties. With the governments mainly silent, outside observers increasingly question the will of the European Union and the eurozone to establish robust and democratic structures. Spiegel International Online Spiegel International Oline offers a broad compilation of thoughts about how Germany's EU policies, but also transatlantic relations, have changed during the chancellorship of Angela Merkel: Self-Important Approach Worries Berlin's Allies (31 August 2011). Democratic, very German Even now, with a population of 82 million, Germany is the elephant in the China shop, both in the European Union (502.5 million) and the euro area (332 million) (Source: Eurostat). However, Germans would be even more influential in a European federation, based on 'one person, one vote', encompassing the citizens of for instance the current eurozone countries. Should Germans be afraid of a European level representative democracy? Should anybody else reject a parliament and a government giving each voter approximately the same weight? Joschka Fischer For ideas outside the dogms of the Franco-German ”engine”, let us turn to the person who made the 2000 Humboldt speech on Europe. What does Joschka Fischer think today? His latest Project Syndicate column appeared 30 August 2011: Europe's Shaky Foundations. Fischer's analysis of the political weaknesses of the economic union, the ineffectiveness of remedies currently employed and his geopolitical views merit discussion among Europeans interested in our (or even only their own) future. Is his analysis correct? Does he offer the right remedies? Why is he vague about the democratic underpinnings of real powers at European level? These are some of the questions we as Europeans need to discuss. Bloggingportal For continuing discussion about the eurozone challenges, the future of Europe, as well as EU politics and policies, follow the new articles from 841 euroblogs on multilingual, an important part of the European public space. I invite you to read and to discuss on my four blogs about EU politics and law: Grahnlaw (EN), Grahnblawg (SV), Eurooppaoikeus (FI) and Grahnlaw Suomi Finland (EN SV FI). I am also active on Twitter (although I can follow back, only as slots become available) and on Facebook. Ralf Grahn P.S. Sorry. The new Blogger interface made the blog post into a "sausage", and I was unable to correct it by getting the paragraphs separated.