Sunday 4 December 2011

Euro: Waiting for Merkozy

Heads of government (or state) in most European capitals may think about Samuel Beckett, as they wait for Merkozy.

At least publicly their common president of the European Council and the Euro Summits, Herman Van Rompuy, has not published proposals to overcome the euro crisis.

More than anything, we seem to experience a cacaphony of silence from the national capitals and Brussels.

Franco-German positions

Monday, 5 December 2011 at 13:30, the French president Nicolas Sarkozy receives the German chancellor Angela Merkel for a working lunch at the Elysee Palace.

What, if anything, are they going to bring to the table?

Friday, 2 December 2011 the German Parliament (Bundestag) heard and debated the government policy statement presented by chancellor Angela Merkel (Regierungserklärung durch die Bundeskanzlerin zum Europäischen Rat am 9. Dezember 2011 in Brüssel).

The Toulon election rally speech by the French president Nicolas Sarkozy and the government statement by Merkel have been widely reported and commented. Here are a few attempts to compare the two messages, ahead of the meeting between Sarkozy and Merkel in Paris tomorrow, 5 December 2011.

Charlemagne published two blog posts on the common euro problem, but two differing visions (part I and a more detailed comparison in part II).

On the Coulisses de Bruxelles blog, Jean Quatremer discussed similarities and differences. The European Council may continue until Sunday.

Le Figaro offers another synthesis of the Franco-German views.


In addition to David Cameron and Herman Van Rompuy the list of bystanders ahead of the European Council (#EUCO on Twitter) 8 to 9 December 2011 seems long, with few exceptions to date.

One of the few government sources I have stumbled across is the Swedish foreign minister and euroblogger Carl Bildt, whose message is more Europe, but not more Europes. Splitting Europe into new groups is not the way forward.

Ahead of the General Affairs Council (GAC) 5 December 2011 the Swedish government is positive about the need for improved budgetary discipline, but reserved about the need for treaty changes. The customary annotated agenda offers some background, but no concrete proposals.

The Swedes may be happy to be outside the eurozone right now, as The Economist reports, but how realistic is Bildt's hope to evade the consequences of being a euro outsider by reaching effective decisions unanimously and then ratifying them in 27 EU member states?

The government of Finland refers to president Herman Van Rompuy's proposals on ways to strengthen the economic union, improve fiscal discipline and deepen the euro area's integration. The debate will concentrate on the possibility of limited Treaty changes or corresponding arrangements. The President’s proposals are based on the mandate he was given in the October meeting.

This text and one about the General Affairs Council are written as if Van Rompuy's proposals existed (and only the public was kept in the dark).

The Irish Independent sees prime minister Enda Kenny capitulating to Merkel on budget rules, anticipating that the European Central Bank would build a ”firewall” to give eurozone governments time to repair their finances. Another national referendum looms on the horizon. Here Van Rompuy is said to be preparing his proposals, with national (Irish) officials participating in the process.


The markets and EU citizens need democratic and sufficient powers, good governance and transparency to the European level from Merkozy.

The governments, too, are waiting for Merkozy, but with varying apprehensions and reservations, based on their national agendas.

Ralf Grahn

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