Euro crisis: Frau Bundeskanzlerin answers history’s knock

History has been knocking for some time…  and, for good or ill, Angela Merkel “is perceived to set policy, pace and tone at every turn.”  But has the public been softened up sufficiently for historic change?

In the Irish Times Derek Scally reports from Berlin

In recent off-the-record briefings, the German leader has shown an unusual determination for the task she has set herself.

She wants “real harmonisation”, not just “closer co-ordination”. After months of silent backing for her euro zone strategy, leaders in Scandinavia and the Benelux countries can expect phone calls from the German leader in the coming weeks calling for public support for her plan.

The Stern interview has kicked off Dr Merkel’s campaign to win the backing of German voters, who increasingly see the EU as a black hole for their taxes.

Ahead of seven state elections this year, the chancellor is confident voters will back her if, as the price for Berlin’s contributions to euro zone bailout funds, she can deliver a euro zone 2.0 along clearly German lines.

The chancellery paper contains measures German voters will already recognise, such as an EU-wide version of Germany’s “debt brake” which would legally hinder parliaments’ ability to run up budget deficits.

Berlin’s draft paper touches on an Irish hot-button issue, too: harmonisation of corporate tax. It also makes proposals to end discrepancies in retirement ages across Europe.

Asked whether they expect much resistance to the plan among Germany’s EU partners, one senior Merkel official replied: “No, because they need our money.”

Read the whole thing.