Chatterbox Rome Declaration cannot save the EU; Germany has to pay more to do that

60th anniversary of the Rome treaties. Family photo after the 27 EU leaders undersigned on Saturday, 25 March a Declaration  reconfirming their allegiance to the European project. However some of them had strong reserves. Shoot location: Rome – Italy. Shoot date: 25/03/2017. Copyright: European Union.

Last Saturday, the phantom of Wolfgang Schaeuble, the hawkish German minister of Finance, overshadowed the gathering of the 27 EU leaders in the Italian capital, without him having left Berlin. The heads of EU states or governments, at the exception of British MP Theresa May, went there to celebrate the 60th anniversary after the signing of the Treaty of Rome. This is the birth  certificate of the European Union, which was reconfirmed by the 27 leaders, four days before Britain officially asks for a divorce.

Only hours ahead of this special occasion in Rome though, planned by the Brussels bureaucracy to strengthen the unity of the club, Schaeuble advocated loudly the need for a ‘multi speed’ governance of the EU, upsetting the four eastern, the three Baltic democracies and some southern member states. Finally, all the 27 undersigned the 1000 words Declaration, despite many expressing severe reservations going as far as threatening to boycott the whole thing. Let’s start from the new divisive EU strategy, for a closer Union of the willing.

Advertising ‘multi speed’ EU

The ‘Multi speed’ EU strategy is to be employed in the future, actually not by those who want more Europe but by those who don’t want less. Currently though, this is still a threat for those who are not willing to transfer more sovereignty to Brussels. The four Visegrad countries (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) are skeptical or even Euroskeptic, and strongly oppose the transfer of more powers to Brussels, jealously guarding their newly quarried independence following the fall of the communist Warsaw Pact, under the iron hand of the ex-USSR.

As a result, the wording of the Declaration of Rome which the 27 EU leaders signed last Saturday had already become a very difficult crosswords, without the intervention of Schauble. He turned it into a puzzle. In the end, more than a thousand words were needed to make it tolerable by all. Ten years ago, the analogous Berlin Declaration was more or less half lengthy as the last one. Understandably, such a text aspiring to be a historic landmark, had to be brief and to the point. Instead, it had to go into details to soothe the reservations and the fears of some member states, Poland and Greece especially.

Poland‘s Eurosceptisism

The extreme right-wing and Eurosceptic Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, the voice of her impossible master Jarosław Kaczyński, the President of their Law and Justice party, had stated she would not sign a Declaration, containing the option of a ‘multi speed’ EU. To alleviate Poland, the Declaration incorporated strong references to ‘unity’ and NATO affiliation. Around one hundred words were needed for that. It seems that Schauble’s intervention advertising ‘multi speed’ EU enraged the Poles. Thus, the need for more words in the Declaration.

The old German fox didn’t stop there. He took it on his colleague, Foreign Minister and Federal Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. The latter, until recently was the President of the Socialist Party (SPD), which is the junior partner in Christian Democrat Angela Merkel’s governing coalition. The ‘grand coalition’ of CDU-SPD has been ruling Germany for the last fifteen years. Last Thursday, Gabriel on official visit to Athens, when delivering a joint Press conference with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias, said that Germany must give more money to Greece and the EU. H also tweetted that in the “In the next debate on Europe’s finances we could do something ‘outrageous’ – namely signal willingness to pay more.”

What Greece needs

It seems that the German socialists have decided to drastically change their fifteen years ‘secondo’ tune in Merkel’s austere orchestra. They have been supporting a strict economic policy, inspired by Schauble, which has sent many EU countries and Greece ‘par excellence’ to over-indebtedness. At the same time, it offered immeasurable wealth to Germany, through record trade surpluses. However, the new leader of SPD, the long time European Parliament President Martin Schulz, has greatly raised the party’s prospects to win the next legislative election in September, by simply telling his compatriots that the austere times are over.

A stout European Schulz says that the unity of the EU cannot be served with Shauble’s austerity. In some respects, this was mainly at stake in Rome last Saturday. Greece threatened to boycott the Rome Declaration from quite a different perspective than Poland. Athens, after seven years of severe austere policies and more indebtedness, is currently under pressure to go deeper into the same swamp. On top of that her creditors, and particularly the International Monetary Fund, demand that basic labor rights, like collective bargaining of wages and salaries, to be indefinitely inactive, as is currently the situation. Last Friday, Tsipras addressed a letter to his 26 counterparts pointing out the contradiction between what the creditors’ request and the EU legislation.

Germany changes

The truth is that the problems with Greece are far from over. Tsipras finally decided to undersign the Declaration, after a phrase about ‘fighting unemployment’ was added to the text. However, the bailout mix offered to the country by her creditors, the EU partners and the IMF, doesn’t seem to change, despite the straight seven years of mammoth failures. The country is at the verge of social and political collapse and the Grexit has again appeared in the news.

Seemingly, Gabriel is finally convinced that Germany has to change its policies towards Athens, if Greece is to stand on her feet in the foreseeable future. The same is true for the entire EU. Gabriel’s ‘outrageous’ willingness of Germany to pay more, is the only solution to contain the centrifuge forces, which gain momentum all over the Union.

Can an election save EU?

The defeat of Geert Wilders in Holland didn’t solve the problem of Eurosceptisism. The South and the East cannot continue being molested by Germany. The ‘Schauble method’ will sooner or later lead to more exits. If Schulz and Gabriel win the September election, this may change.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Berlin favours economic and social disintegration in certain Eurozone countries

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

Better air pollution data is helping us all breathe easier. Here’s how

Preventing and resolving conflicts must form ‘backbone’ of collective efforts – UN chief

Public opinion misled by the Commission on air transport safety

Parliament pushes for cleaner cars on EU roads by 2030

Britain’s May won the first round on the Brexit agreement with the EU

Mainland Europe adopts Germanic cartel business patterns

70 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this is why we need dignity more than ever

Afghanistan: UN mission condemns deadly attack near Kabul airport

France is bringing back national service

Further reforms will promote a more inclusive and resilient Indonesian economy

Schengen: new rules for temporary checks at national borders

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris and beyond: EU action and what COP21 should deliver”, Green MEP Keith Taylor discusses from Brussels 

3 ways governments and carmakers can keep up with the future of transport

Alcoholic drinks: Commission tables update of rules governing alcohol excise duties

The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

Immigrant integration policies have improved but challenges remain

MEPs agree on new rules to tax digital companies’ revenues

Banks can fight financial crime. But we can’t do it alone

An American duel in Brussels: Salesforce against Microsoft over Linkedin deal

OECD Donor countries need to reform development finance to meet 2030 pledge

From diamonds to recycling: how blockchain can drive responsible and ethical businesses

Nature is our strongest ally in ensuring global water security

The future of crypto-assets, from opportunities to policy implications

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe needs decisive progress for stronger cybersecurity”, EU Commissioner Gabriel highlights from Brussels

Ceasefire holds in Tripoli, but core problems remain, says UN Libya mission chief

Draghi, Letta: All Eurozone countries must be able to borrow like Germany

Macron crowned king of Europe in Washington D.C.; just a working meeting with Trump for Merkel

Entrepreneurship in a newly shaped Europe: what is the survival kit for a young Catalan and British entrepreneur in 2018?

The Oslo model: how to prepare your city for the electric-vehicle surge

Venezuelan exodus to Ecuador reaches record levels: UN refugee agency steps up aid

FROM THE FIELD: A UN peacekeepers-eye view of DR Congo

In Bali, UN chief Guterres outlines importance of international financial cooperation for sustainable development

European Commission recommends to the European Council (Article 50) to find that decisive progress has been made in Brexit negotiations

CHALLENGING THE ZEITGEIST OF DIGITAL – Change making projects innovate mobile support for refugees, inclusive environments, early breast cancer detection and more

How a new approach to meat can help end hunger

EU’s tougher privacy rules: WhatsApp and Facebook set to be soon aligned with telcos

EU cracks under the weight of its policy on the Ukraine-Russia nub

False promises to Small and Medium Enterprises

Summer JADE Meeting 2015: We came curious, we left inspired

EU Commission retracts on the Chinese solar panel case

iSting: Change Europe with your Writing

We lack a global framework for saving our environment. Here’s how we change that

Further reforms needed for a stronger and more integrated Europe

UN chief welcomes Taliban’s temporary truce announcement, encourages all parties to embrace ‘Afghan-owned peace’

Have central banks missed the exit train?

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

World response to AIDS epidemic at a ‘critical juncture’

How India is harnessing technology to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution

“Two Pack” approved: Is democracy chased away from Brussels?

Devastating storms like Hurricane Florence ‘unusual this far north’: UN weather agency

My twin from Guangzhou

Advocate General ‘outlaws’ Data Retention Directive

MWC 2016 LIVE: GTI shifts to phase two – 5G – after hitting milestones

UN, Somali Government seek $80 million in immediate relief for flood-affected populations

Greece begins a new chapter following the conclusion of its stability support programme

This Norwegian cruise line plans to power its ships with rotting fish

Three ways the Fourth Industrial Revolution is shaping geopolitics

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s