Go for it, Angela

Published on 27 January 2012 at 13:54

“My vision is one of political union”: the remark made by Angela Merkel in an interview granted to theEuropa supplement produced by six European dailies is worth noting for several reasons. The German Chancellor had already spoken of this objective on the occasion of the CDU party conference but not with such clarity. This time she offered details of the future union’s institutional architecture.

First and foremost, it is noteworthy because it effectively answers a question that we have been asking for some time. Do European leaders, and in particular Europe’s most influential leader, have a vision for the future of the EU? The procrastination and improvised initiatives that have become a feature of the debt crisis appear to indicate the opposite.

Secondly, it is noteworthy because it featured in an unprecedented joint publication which presented the Chancellor’s “vision” to ten million European readers, and in particular to her European partners, and it is also addressed to them, which brings us to a third point. Now that she has finally explained where she wants to steer the EU, it is time for Mrs Merkel to embark on the “long process” she has described.

However, this will imply a change in attitude, because Berlin’s reluctance to support some of the key measures to overcome the crisis cited by its partners — Eurobonds, the reinforcement of the European Central Bank and the European Financial Stability Facility — and its stubborn demand for diziplin and budgetary austerity at a time when the weaker members of the EU are stranded in the doldrums do not demonstrate a desire for greater unity.

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However, if Mrs Merkel proves to be as effective at convincing European leaders to accept her “vision” as she has been at imposing her line on the crisis, this political union is likely to see the light of of day. Which is why we almost feel like saying: go for it, Angela.

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