Saturday 19 November 2011

Merkel and Cameron on EU and euro

Thursday, the German chancellor Angela Merkel met the new prime minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Friday brought the UK prime minister David Cameron to Berlin for talks about the European Union, the eurozone crisis and bilateral issues.

David Cameron

Merkel started the press conference by emphasising the common interest of Germany and the United Kingdom to make the European Union competitive. Both countries want the internal market to succeed. The EU budget for 2012 should acknowledge the domestic consolidation efforts by keeping in line with inflation, but nothing more.

A strong eurozone is in Britain's interest. Stricter rules and enforcement require limited treaty change among the members of the eurozone, according to Merkel.

Prime minister David Cameron underlined the common aims concerning the internal market, budget discipline and the EU budget. A sustainable euro is in everyone's interest, although differences remain regarding crisis measures.

Merkel and Cameron are united on a global financial transaction tax (FTT), but not on a European one.

Cameron replied to the Bild magazine headline about what the UK is (still) doing in Europe, by stressing his country's positive role for competitiveness and productivity.

The institutions of the eurozone need to defend the currency and to take all the necessary measures, according to Cameron.

The United Kingdom remains outside the Euro Group of 17 countries, the euro summits, the ECB and the Euro Plus Pact joining 23 EU members (see EUCO paragraphs 11-12 and Annex I), but it is hard to guess how Cameron's friendly advice was received deep down by his step-by-step host.

CDU positions

Previously we have looked at some differences between Germany and Britain in European politics: the CDU party conference, European values, British Europe as an alternative, Ireland as a risk to needed treaty reform, the euro area and the EU, as well as CDU's next steps to overcome the euro crisis.

Ralf Grahn


  1. I am sad from latest development of Europe. Democracy turns now in a mere empty word used almost only in a propagandistic way now ("look, we are free and democratic whereas Cuba, Iran or I-don't-know-who-else not and it is an indisputable fact" and "let us bomb them"). I cannot avoid these thoughts when everybody (as you) speak about competitiveness of Europe. In my opinion this expression is even emptier than the one with democracy. Europe is a world region that teoretically has most "trump cards": the most long tradition of industrial economy (it is its cradle), the most educated population, open society that gives (at least teoretically) everybody a chance to put his ideas and thoughts through, more or less good and fair social system that leaves nobody outside the society, democratic political system that should preserve everything this - yet all this is not sufficient to be enough "competitive" towards others which have not such "trumps". Why? How it is possible that for example China, with its total absence of democracy, with its huge corruption, with its immension human misery, with its lacking standards of labour of a worker, totally absent social security, with its immense destruction of natural environment (not to mention treating animals) is more competitive than Europe? Are qualities of Europe (despite their present decline) an obstacle for comptetitiveness? Assuming that multinational corporations make more profits from Chinese misery that European urbanity I am prone to believe that we should compete with Chinese misery by falling to its level.

    But I have been provoked by a word in your post, I want in fact not to comment it. Actually, I have a question. This your article (and some other recent ones too) deals with the common European currency. I have read an article lately that discussed the treaty establishing the European stability mechanism. The article emphasized antidemocraticness of the treaty. To say the truth, I am worried by that article so I want to know your opinion. The treaty says in its article 27 that the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) and its property (and so on) enjoys immunity from every form of judicial process, that the premises (= buildings) of the ESM shall be inviolable, in its article 29 than that all employees and other involved persons should keep professional secrecy and in the article 30 that the headpersons and other staff members shall be immune from legal proceedings and shall enjoy inviolability in respect of their official papers and documents.
    For me, these are not enactements belonging to an open authority in the democratic society but they instead make an impression to me to be provisions of a "feudal" secret counsel of some Baroque absolutistic monarch. Is my impression justified according to you? And are at least some of the enactements not inconsistent with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union?

  2. citizen of Europe,

    With regard to competitiveness, the most successful EU countries are those which are fairly advanced in information and communication technologies, research and innovation, qualified industrial production, have open economies and functioning public services etc.

    Thus, my writing on the subject wants to stimulate constructive efforts in the European Union.

    The clauses you mention concerning the European Stability Mechanism ESM are of the kind regularly connected with international (intergovernmental) organisations.

    This reflects the current state of affairs, although you may have noticed that I strongly recommend popular sovereignty at EU or at least eurozone level as the organising principle = EU level democracy.

  3. Yes, I have noticed your recommendations (and I agree them). But I don't understand much your statement about the clauses that I mentioned; you write that they are connected with intergovernmental organizations. But I am embarrassed by extent of confidentiality that is heard in the clauses - is it regular (as you use the word) in environment of an intergovernmental organization? To whom then the ESM will be responsible?


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