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The European Union or the "German Union"?
Material posted: Publication date: 06-11-2012

Inside the European Union's growing internal tension due to the gain of two opposite tendencies – centripetal, which finds its expression in the attempts to reach a new level of integration, and centrifugal, when a group of States is seeking the return of part of national sovereignty from the common bodies of the EU.

The expression of this very complex and rapidly evolving situation is the multiple strengthening of political positions of Germany, the decline of influence of France and the special position of the UK, which is already thinking about my future "outside the EU".

One manifestation of this structural and conceptual crisis was the preparation of the next EU summit, which is dedicated to a single EU budget for 7-year financial period /2014 – 2020/. He is scheduled for 22 – 23 November in Brussels. Now, however, his conduct was under threat because of a significant deterioration of relations between Germany and the UK – this is reported by informed diplomatic circles.

The European Parliament is in favour of increasing the budget by 4.8 per cent., The European Commission /EK/ – to 1.08 percent. of GDP in the European Union or to 1 trillion euros. In turn, Germany proposes to limit the level of 1 percent. Thus, the proposal of Berlin sets a limit on the amount of 960 billion euros, and EC – 1 trillion 33 billion euros. While the Commission makes a number of General EU programmes, including the development Fund, beyond the unified budget of the Union. In the result of real differences in the amounts between the offer of Germany and the EU more.

The UK believes that a single EU budget should not exceed 900 billion euros. The position of London means that Eastern European countries will be deprived of significant assistance from the European Union for a line of expenditure of development funds. Now the summit was called into question, as the UK refuses to be flexible. "Berlin is going to tell London that he would seek the cancellation of the November summit if British Prime Minister David Cameron will continue to threaten to veto any decisions that do not involve the freezing of the expenses of the common EU budget at its current level," – said the London newspaper "financial times".

Germany believes that its proposal is limiting the growth to 1 percent. GDP of the EU – provides the basis for a broad compromise. Six EU countries, including Finland and the Czech Republic, have supported this position. Generally positive are France and Italy. Meanwhile, David Cameron has said that Britain will veto any solution that does not retain for the next seven years the current limit the dimensions of the common EU budget."In such conditions, Berlin sees no reason for holding the November summit of the EU", – emphasizes the newspaper.

"Merkel said that the current debate around the future of the EU budget distract from the main task – "fight the current financial crisis", – stated in Brussels. The Chancellor can not forgive British Prime Minister to veto, which it imposed last December to draft the EU budget Pact. As a result, he was accepted in the format of the Eurozone, joined by other EU countries, except UK and the Czech Republic.

An attempt to overcome the current minicrisis in relations between Berlin and London will be taken in November, when the British capital will host Merkel. "Cameron is configured in a constructive and ready to compromise," – said in this regard, the radio station bi-Bi-si.

The situation around the future of the EU budget shows that the UK loses interest in the EU and are not ready to go on its further development. All the evidence suggests that the United Kingdom is beginning to think about a new era of its history, which will be held mostly outside of the European Union. It is not clear what specific form will this new provision London: full withdrawal from the EU or retention of membership, but with another formula relationship.

This trend was manifested in a speech on 23 October in Berlin the Minister for foreign Affairs of great Britain William Hague. In it, he outlined the concept of the reform of the European Union in the direction of minimize and outlined a number of key provisions that are the target of London in the next phase of European construction. According to Hague, the EU first needs to be "a single market with common political objectives such as /for example/ to reduce Iran's nuclear programme". "In order to become more effective and successful, the EU must not increase the degree of their centralization, as well as does not become more expensive from a financial point of view," said the British Minister.

Hague also called for further expansion of the EU, primarily through the adoption in its ranks Turkey. Turning to attitudes to the EU in the UK, he stressed that "the frustration of the British people by the EU than ever". "I don't understand how the question of the duration of the working day of nurses should be decided in Brussels and not in each country of the Union," – said Haig. "People believe that the European Union makes very much, however they are not able to affect the nature of EU action", said Hague. He said that in the next two years the UK government "will conduct an audit on the subject of what the EU does and how it affects British people". Hague also pointed out that now London is unhappy with the proposal"a significant increase" the common EU budget for the coming seven-year period. The head of the British foreign Ministry has spoken out against reducing the powers of national parliaments of the countries-EU members. "If we are not able to show that the process of decision-making once again returned to the national parliaments, the whole system can become democratically unsustainable".

A few days earlier, the Minister for European Affairs and foreign trade of Finland Alexander Stubb said that "London and the EU says "goodbye". In turn, French President Francois Hollande stressed that "the UK wants to reverse the process of further integration".

The current Hague's speech, entitled "Europe at a crossroads", partly confirms this view, noted in the EU. Simultaneously it became known that the UK is preparing to withdraw from some of the one programmes of the EU, including those relating to the internal Affairs and legal norms. The tightening position of London in relation to the present new integration phase of the EU generated by the search out of the severe crisis in the Eurozone, could lead to the creation within the EU two-tier structure – the core and the periphery.

If the UK has already taken a clear course for refusal to participate in a new phase of EU integration, which is designed to lead to the creation of the Federation, that Germany was on the other side of this process. Considerable attention in the political and business establishment of the West caused published recently in the "financial times" article entitled "Welcome to Berlin, the new capital of Europe". The author is chief correspondent of the publication Gideon Rachman argues that Berlin became de facto the true center of power in the European Union. "Of course, the main European institutions, including the European Commission and the European Council are in Brussels. However, all key decisions are increasingly taken in Berlin", – emphasizes the newspaper.

"If Greece leaves the Eurozone? In the end, the answer to this question depends on Germany. You will support the European policy of the next programme of assistance to the Mediterranean countries of the EU? Key debates now underway on the topic in the Bundestag, not in the European Parliament. Who conducts consultations with the International monetary Fund /IMF/ on the crisis in the Euro area? The most important discussions are held by the German government and located in Frankfurt, the European Central Bank, not the European Commission", – the newspaper notes.

"The transfer of power from Brussels to Berlin has been accelerated by the current Eurozone crisis, the article says. – German Chancellor Angela Merkel still has to go to summits in the Belgian capital and to achieve a compromise. However, the Euro zone crisis turned it into the most influential political leader at the negotiation table the EU."

For different reasons, "the leaders of other EU member States arrive in Brussels politically weakened." Spain and Italy are struggling with the debt crisis and turned into supplicants. The UK has been "marginalized, as it is located outside the Euro area and its newly created structures. Poland also outside the Eurozone and with a relatively small economy. Now about France. Traditionally, the Franco-German cooperation is at the core of any major EU decisions. For many years the EU summit was preceded by a bilateral meeting between the leaders of France and Germany or their joint written letter to the European Union. Under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, the Duo was maintained, although even then many are skeptical looked at the Franco-German tandem. As stated by one senior official, "France needs Germany to disguise how weak Paris: Germany needs France to disguise how strong Berlin".

Now the screen removed. No more joint Franco-German letters, preceding the EU summit. French President Francois Olland gives a press interview to try to put pressure on Merkel to get her release of the single bonds of the Eurozone or a banking Union. However, as demonstrated by the recent EU summit, Germany is not in a hurry to bring these plans to life. Some argue that the cooperation between Paris and Berlin has always passed through difficult periods, and believes that two people are doomed to a return to close relations. However, this time the situation may change dramatically. The gap in power between France and Germany has become too obvious, and the issues dividing the parties, are of fundamental nature. Paris made various proposals for common Euro-zone bonds, a banking Union, spending on infrastructure, the EU and the social program of the Union cause in Berlin considerable suspicion. Germany does not exclude that the essence of these ideas is to get German taxpayers to subsidise France. But Berlin's counter-proposals – formulation of the budgets of the Eurozone countries under the control of the Commissioner – declared Paris as interference in national sovereignty.

As history teaches us, the compromise between Germany and France will be reached, the newspaper said. However, it concerns such fundamental questions, to seek consent would be difficult. In such a situation, the economic power of Germany can become the decisive factor, especially considered as including in Berlin, France is now moving to a serious economic crisis. This process of strengthening of Germany remains a controversial issue even in Berlin. For clear historical reasons, post-war Germany was not trying to get in Europe a dominant role. After the unification of Germany, the aim has always been a "European Germany and not a German Europe". This instinct – to try to dissolve the German interests in the European – retains its vitality. However, the disappointment in violation of EU partners, these promises and their incompetence makes the Germans less restrained in demanding a more "German Europe".

The cost of helping the European Union by Germany is the adoption by other States rules and laws developed by the Berlin. Such power can beget arrogance. In Berlin now to hear people talk about the arrogant Spaniards, Greek corrupt, suffering from illusions of the French. However, the overall tone of the ongoing discussions in Germany is a serious, patient and responsible.

The Germans insist they are fully committed to the Euro and the EU and intend to make it work. "The problem, if it is, is that life in Berlin is very convenient. Germany is booming and its capital – nice and trendy city. Battles waged in Greece and Spain, seem very distant. Isolation from other members of the Eurozone – that is the feature of today's Berlin as the capital of Europe," – concludes, "financial times".

Thus, within the EU now clearly delineated the dividing line of the future: they lead to the formation of less numerous but more cohesive Union that can be called "German".

 

Source: RODON


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