Eurozone making international relations more party political?

Wolfgang Münchau with some disturbing news for dyed in the wool nationalists of all stripes. The sight of Angela Merkel for Sarkosy on French soil betokens, he suggests, that in Europe…

…bilateral relations have become more party political. The reason is that important policy decisions have shifted from the national to the eurozone level. Take the fiscal compact, recently signed by European Union leaders, most of whom are from the centre-right. The compact was Ms Merkel’s idea; Mr Sarkozy strongly supports it. But François Hollande, the French Socialist presidential candidate, says that, if elected, he will renegotiate it.

Germany’s Social Democrats last week came out in support of Mr Hollande and said they would seek to co-ordinate their policy stance with him. The German left has realised the fiscal compact is not so much a Franco-German project but a project of the right. Ms Merkel cannot ignore the SPD because she needs its votes for parliamentary ratification of the compact.

  • I think it is true but not exactly sure that the signing of the compact is bad news for nationalists.
    It WOULD be bad news if it actually worked.
    Those of us who always saw the Common Market as a rich mans club….even to the extent of taking Tony Benns advice and voting No in the 1975 Referendum…..feel vindicated.
    Those of us who saw each “Treaty” since then as federalism by stealth will feel vindicated.
    And those of us who could not quite understand that Europe went South (literally) taking on the recently fascist Greece, Portugal and Spain as (ironically) ensuring the spread of democracy will feel vindicated.
    And those who saw it over-reach itself go East with the entry of mostly former Communist countries will also feel vindicated.

    The rise of extreme nationalism in Hungary for example will come as no surprise. And places like Greece on a powder keg. …….makes even people of the left like myself feel vindicated to the point of smugly saying that “I told you so” in 1975.
    Where I and others got it wrong……and Simon Jenkins has made this point better…… is that it has not been the transfer of power from sovreign governments to faceless beaurocrats in Brussels. It has been the transfer of power to bankers.
    It would have been bad enough had it just been a pan-European state but Merkel and Sarkozy and the rest value the market…… institutions……..more than they value democracy.
    They have not empowered German citizens and disenfranchised Greek citizens. They have rather empowered some of their citizens rather more than they should be….the shareholders in banks………as much as in London as Frankfurt.

    Thus a person does not have to be Nigel Farage or a reader of the Daily Mail and Daily Express or be worried about British (sic) bananas to feel that it has all gone wrong.
    There seems no means out that does not involve a radical re-think of the relationship between a nation and “Europe” and the bankers.
    Its not merely about nationalism . Its about accountability and democracy.

  • Greenflag


    ‘Simon Jenkins has made this point better…… is that it has not been the transfer of power from sovereign governments to faceless beaurocrats in Brussels. It has been the transfer of power to bankers.’

    And not just in the Eurozone . A comparative listing of Obama’s financial advisors and Treasury and Federal Reserve officials not to mention the IMF with previous President Bush’s people shows the same names -same backgrounds and it looks very much like neither the Democrats nor Republicans have been in power for the last decade . Goldman Sachs rules and they don’t need to be elected .

    The sad aspect of British opposition to the Eurozone is the fact that the people who oppose it at the top are ‘uncritical ‘ of the massive bailout of British banks and the immoral bonuses once again being dished out to bankers who have wait for it -LOST – money . At the bottom opposition seems to be based on the ‘wogs begin at Calais ‘idiocy and or the shape of tomatoes argument 🙁

    Merkel has in fact had a retake on supporting Sarkocy . She was to go there a couple of weeks back but it was thought that the very idea of a German Kanzler interfering in French ‘democracy ‘ would have seen Sarkocy effectively guillotining himself before a vote was cast .

    So why the change of mind ? Alas recent opinion polls see a large gap emerging between Monsieur Hollande and Sarkocy to the latter’s disadvantage . So it’s now a case of sauve qui peut and Merkel who is probably secure in her re-election bid will not see a Holland presidency as ‘compliant ‘ as a Sarkocy one .

    But there is a positive side to Merkel’s interference in Sarkocy’s election and /or vice versa at least they are not interfering via the marching of millions of their fellow citizens across each others borders dressed in uniform.

  • John Ó Néill

    You could cite a supporting case from around this time last year that is a bit closer to home:

    … the recent noises from Barroso and Merkel both suggest that the pre-election photo-ops were little more than optical exercises in the taoiseachification of Enda. The possibility that they were getting their favoured candidate into the post, and what that might mean, was not really considered by the mainstream Irish media.