The new German question

German European policy is causing increasing concern in Brusseld. The ECB ruling, the dispute over the new EU budget and the continuing closure of borders are adding to tension. – What does Berlin want? That is the new German question.

It was an unusual admission: “Europe is very fragile at the moment”, EU leaders said on Europe Day on 9 May. What they meant, they did not say. But the biggest worry for them at the moment is probably the largest member state – Germany.

The Federal Republic of Germany is standing in the way almost everywhere in the Corona crisis – and blocking urgently needed solutions: The three biggest problems:

  • The ECB and the ECJ. The Federal Constitutional Court has classified the central bank’s bond purchases as partially unconstitutional and accused the highest EU court of blatant errors. This is now leading to a crisis that is shaking monetary policy, but also European law. The Commission is therefore even considering infringement proceedings, more here
  • The new EU budget and debt. Chancellor Merkel vehemently opposes the plan of Commission President von der Leyen to use the next EU budget to take on debt, in order to create a “recovery instrument” worth billions. The plan of the EU authority therefore had to be postponed, a scandal threatens – more here
  • The borders and the internal market. The Federal Government has closed the German Schengen borders without consultation and now does not want to open them again. At the same time, the closure endangers the internal market, from which Germany has benefited particularly so far. Now the pressure is growing – not only in Berlin, but also in Paris and Luxembourg.

In normal times, all this might not be so worrying. But these are not normal times. Rather, it looks as if Germany can use the Corona crisis to impose its will on others. What does Berlin want? That is the new German question.

It is also particularly urgent because Germany will take over the six-month presidency on 1 July. It is the country that is stalling its partners that is supposed to organise the European relaunch from the crisis.

So far it does not look as if Berlin is well equipped for this. At any rate, Merkel has not yet passed the three tests formulated by British historian Timothy Garton Ash at the height of the Corona crisis…

Translated with (free version). The original version (in German) is here

Keine Schlagwörter.