October 08, 2015
Wolfgang Schäuble spoke at Science Po in Paris, where he effectively rejected the Macron proposals for further political integration in the eurozone, according to a gushingly approving article in Frankfurter Allgemeine. It quoted Schauble as pleading for "more realism", which is one of many ways of saying no. This is what Schauble said, our translation:
"You have to ask the citizens: would you accept decisions that are not taken by your national parliament, but by a European institution? We know that the readiness for that is very limited in some European countries."
There are no prizes for guessing which countries Schauble had in mind. He recalled the decision by the Assemblée Nationale in 1954 to block the proposed European defence union. The author of the FAZ article weighs with his view that doubts about the sincerity of the French proposal were justified. There is no evidence that the French readiness for relinquishing national sovereignty is any bigger now than in 2005 when the country voted down the EU Constitutional Treaty in a referendum.
On a different subject, the article also mentions an exchange between Schauble and Greek students, who criticised him for German refugee policies. He noted that the German constitutional court had forbidden the government from sending refugees back to Greece on the grounds that a "minimum of human dignity" was not guaranteed in the country.
"With all respect, don't blame me for what is happening in Greece. You should care about your own country instead."
We also cover the ramifications of the refugee crisis in German power politics; Tsipras' confidence vote victory and reform plans; Portugal's Communists getting ready to be part of a Socialist government; VW facing a new threat of tax subsidy clawbacks by governments; the leak of the Commission's Spanish budget report; the IMF's worries about global contagion from China; and the latest chapter in the German obsession with the Bundesbank's gold hoard.