Monday 18 December 2017

Germany must end the rhetoric

Coming from German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, yesterday's call for European fiscal union was a bit rich. While Dr Schaeuble's rhetorical commitment to fiscal union is no doubt deeply felt, the actions of other members of the German government and parliamentarians of the ruling CDU/CSU Party tell a very different story.

Yesterday, at the same time as Dr Schaeuble was telling a conference in Frankfurt that the eurozone member-countries would have to agree on a common fiscal policy, his boss Chancellor Angela Merkel was cancelling a long-planned trip to Russia next month. Chancellor Merkel is staying at home instead in order to try and quell a growing revolt in the ranks of her CDU/CSU party ahead of a parliamentary vote on last month's deal by EU leaders that was supposed to "fix" the problems of the single currency.

Even by the normally relaxed standards of these affairs, the speed with which the July 21 deal has unravelled is truly remarkable. The fact that most EU parliaments, including the Dail, don't vote on the deal until next month didn't help matters. The German parliament, the Bundestag, isn't scheduled to vote on the deal until September 23.

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