Sunday, August 26, 2012
The German people will decide Europe's fate
August 26, 2012
As speculation about a Greek exit from the eurozone continues, Germany is pushing ahead with plans for a new treaty that will transform the European Union.
According to this week's Spiegel, Angela Merkel wants European leaders to agree by the end of the year to hold a constitutional convention in order to fashion a new legal basis for the EU – even though most other member states are opposed to the idea of another tortuous and risky treaty negotiation so soon after the failed European constitution and the Lisbon treaty. The plan could dramatically reshape the EU in Germany's image – or lead to it falling apart.
On Friday Merkel rejected Greece's plea for more time to implement austerity measures while affirming that she still wanted it to remain in the euro. There had been some signs that German anger about Greece had dissipated – Bild published a surprisingly positive interview with the Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, last week – but at the same time confidence is growing that a Greek exit from the euro could be contained. Figures such as Volker Kauder, the parliamentary leader of the Christian Democrats, and Philipp Rösler, vice-chancellor and leader of the Free Democrats, the junior partner in Merkel's coalition government, have said they no longer fear a Greek exit.