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France and Germany are setting tongues wagging. Despite the celebrations at Ludwigsburg last week,where Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande did a great job making the Franco-German relationship look good on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of General de Gaulle’s speech to German youth, the general tone in Berlin is one of a certain irritation when it comes to France and the state of Franco-German relations.
The Germans, in short, are wondering about two things: Firstly, whether France will carry out its structural reforms. Most Germans probably welcome Nicholas Bavarez’ new book “Réveillez-vous”, in which the author makes an urgent case for the need for France to reform its economy deeply, and tries to wake France from its attitude of economic exceptionalisme . However, it’s not only the French economy that seems in deep trouble: France’s economic choices under François
At the end of last week I attended the Riga Conference, an annual Transatlantic foreign-policy conference that goes back to the 2006 NATO summit. For me one of the most extraordinary moments of the conference came during a panel discussion on the diminishing importance of Europe and the future of the West. The panelists included Julianne Smith, deputy national security adviser to US Vice President Joe Biden, and Hans-Friedrich von Ploetz, a former German ambassador to Russia and the UK. During the discussion, a member of the audience asked whether Europe might be becoming a greater Switzerland – rich but neutral and strategically irrelevant. Von Ploetz’s simple response was: “Switzerland is not such a bad country!”
It was a joke, right? Perhaps not. Eberhard Sandschneider is the director of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), the leading German foreign-policy think
The third year of the euro crisis might be the most important one yet – and with Germany heading for elections next September things are getting serious. In year one of the crisis (2010), Germany was lost and without a strategy, lurching through the events more than being in control. In year two of the crisis (2011) we observed a subtle U-turn und more decisive actions to safe the euro. But the German strategy was not the ‘big bazooka’, but a step-by-step pragmatic approach which certainly disappointed the Anglo-Saxon world. The strategy may be incomplete and flawed especially with respect to the pro-cyclical and painful effects of austerity policy in the South: but it is also true that we see the first signs of success.
Today, the political system in Europe at large seems in control of the crisis. This is important. Also, we seem to have a shared understanding of what exactly
This is the second blog post by Carlino Antpöhler looking at the finer details of the German constitutional court's ESM ruling. Click here for his first blog post in which he explains the legal background of the case.
The German Federal Constitutional Court’s (FCC) order on provisional measures regarding the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) turned out as expected. The Court in general accepted that the President signs the German acts approving in particular the ESM Treaty. The judges, however, require minor adjustments before the Treaty can be ratified. More concretely, the German government has to make reservations under international law before signing the Treaty. As speculation already had it after the oral proceedings, those reservations indeed concern limitations to Germany’s liability and rights to information of the German legislative bodies.
Art. 8 of the ESM Treaty
Who would not remember Gorbatchev’s famous (mis)quote? „Dangers await only those who do not react to life”, the actual quote runs. And it seems to be happening again. EU leaders are stumbling from one EU summit to another in minuscule steps. The political elite failed to tell a bold European story, failed to engage in courageous steps and failed to be honest about what would be needed to save not only the euro, but also to make Europe a powerful player in the 21st century. We need a game-changing institutional European event, which more or less radically shifts the euro into fiscal federalism and the political system of the EU into a fully fletched European democracy. This is why we are confronted with two opposite dynamics: The very moment, the EU finally tries to develop a banking union by establishing a joint supervisory structure for its banking system to allow direct
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