Has Merkel moved yet?

At the beginning of the EU summit on “recovery”, hopes of a breakthrough are fading. Yet Chancellor Merkel was seen as a guarantor for a quick agreement – wasn’t she?

Merkel with von der Leyen, Merkel with Conte, Merkel with Sanchez: the current EU Council President cannot be accused of lacking commitment. The Chancellor is trying hard, she talks a lot.

But has she already moved, has she already changed anything? It does not appear so. Recently, the supposed “saviour of the EU” is already dampening expectations for the EU summit on Friday.

On Friday, there will be “a first attempt” to reach an agreement on the EU financial framework and the Corona aid fund, Merkel said after a meeting with Bavarian Prime Minister Söder.

She did not know whether an agreement would be successful or not. Dutch Prime Minister Rutte made a similar statement. The recent reactions behind the scenes did not make him very hopeful.

This is remarkable in that it is Merkel and Rutte who have it in their hands to make the meeting a success. Just as at the last EU budget summit in February, it is Berlin and The Hague that count.

Merkel’s job would be to dissuade Rutte from his “no” to debt-financed subsidies. She would also have to make it clear to him that The Hague cannot decide on reforms in the crisis countries.

But she does not – on the contrary. At her meeting with Rutte in Berlin, Merkel also called for strict reform requirements. She thus strengthened Rutte in his resistance instead of changing his mind.

Moreover, Merkel insists more than ever on the German EU rebate – despite the shrinking Community budget. This is another position she shares with Rutte and the “frugal four”.

Yet discounts in a shrinking budget – and that is exactly what is on the table – are doubly perverse. They lead to crisis countries like Italy (net payers!) having to pay more – and they weaken the budget even more.

Has Merkel moved yet? No – and if so, then rather in the wrong direction…

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) The oroginal post (in German) is here