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In the aftermath of the failed merger between the European aerospace and defence consortium EADS and British defence contractor BAE Systems, French financial daily Les Echos questions Berlin's true intentions. Accused by both Paris and London of having sunk the operation, Les Echos titles its leader article “What does Germany want in Europe?”, all the while recognising that the question is "a little taboo and troubling because it questions the sincerity of Berlin's European commitments.”

Les Echos looks back at a series of red flags that, it claims, show that Germany's European commitment lies in words rather than in deeds —

Germany's European commitment was first contested during the on-going serial of the Eurozone crisis. [...] For the last three years, efforts to establish instruments of financial solidarity stumbled over Berlin's refusals, blocking manoeuvres, procrastination, and oft-repeated hesitations.

The same holds true, according to the leader writer, regarding European energy policy, when —

Germany decided to pull out of nuclear power without any discussion with its neighbours, it was a solitary decision with huge effects on the continent.

And the final episode in the series is "European defence policy fails due to German hesitation" —

The German veto ruins the grand European dream and places the British BAE back into a strategic dead-end. The worst is that allowing Boeing to take control of [BAE] might be the only way out, thus adding insult to injury.

In Germany, the weekly Die Zeit takes a philosophical view of the failure —

The free-for-all around EADS and BAE mostly shows the point to which cultural differences threaten mergers in Europe.

For Die Zeit, Germany's last ditch resistance is a false explanation of the failure: "The real culprit is Rousseau."

The difficulty in merging two businesses like EADS and BAE originates in the 17th Century. At the time, France and Germany developed two very different ideas of property.

An adept of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, France considers that a major industry must submit to the public interest and thus refused to give up its share in EADS (22%, of which 15% is government-held). The British, faithful to John Locke, cultivate a strong sense of private property, but, to support the public interest, were grudgingly willing to accord a 9% stake to the French in the new, post-merger company.