The end of the European Union…

…as we know it. Not even “Der Spiegel” writes about this, even though it’s becoming increasingly clear. Chancellor Merkel is no longer leading – and Commission President Juncker no longer wants to. (German version here)

“Holding the Union together” – it’s not just the request of the unions (as described in this blog), but the majority of EU politicians. Especially Chancellor Merkel calls upon this.

But her proposal to only create a EU of different speeds, is resulting in the end of the Union. Because there are two problems with her plan that have been neglected up until now.

  • First, it relies on the so-called Union method, i.e. the EU countries. The Commission, as well as the Parliament and the other institutions in Brussels, will be relegated to an accessory.
  • Secondly, this flexible EU has to be able to survive without solid core. Neither the Euro Group nor the EU founding states are expected to represent an avant-garde, or even a solid base.

Merkel’s plan is resulting in a German Europe à la carte , where she chooses her partners according to taste. Even decisions from Brussels count only if they suit Berlin.

German Europe à la carte

This is already becoming more and more clear – in the euro crisis (Merkel called on the IMF to weaken Brussels), the refugee crisis (Merkel alone) and the (non-)response to Brexit.

But now the community has collapsed to such an extent, that Juncker ( “too little Europe, too little Union”) has no desire to make the best of a bad job. He wants to leave in 2019.

Before leaving though, he will still publish a White Paper on the future of the EU – another swipe at Merkel, from which the man from Luxembourg is increasingly breaking away.

Four-way summit without the EU

But the Chancellor leaves no doubt as to what keeps her from it: nothing. She relies on a four-way summit with France, Italy and Spain on March 6 in Versailles, Brussels is not invited.

And why does this mean the end of the Union as we know it? It’s simple: Nothing’s left. First, the community spirit disappeared. Then the goal of the “ever closer union” was abandoned.

And now, the institutional core in Brussels is even collapsing. If Merkel gets her way, it will be replaced by agreements between Berlin and other, changing partners.

A heavy, agonizing time

The EU is like a patient in intensive care, who is only kept alive by machines. It can take a long time until they are switched off – a heavy, agonizing time…

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