No one can deny that the French socialist party is fundamentally European oriented. However one must distinguish between belonging to Europe and working for European integration. On the second point, no French leader (apart from the French center left and right movements, weak political presence) has clearly pushed towards more integration since the European Monetary Union. Their actions are those of political leaders that cannot wait for the moment they leave this « jungle ».
I have heard that the crisis will eventually push all of them European leaders to a political stance that will back reform and European integration as a way out of it. Crap. What has resulted is LESS European integration, calls to back off on agreements like Schengen, a European Commission that has gone missing, a European Parliament that can do nothing but watch and scold, and last but not least, national leaders acting as if they were Europe’s leaders (long live elective democracy) .
Now I might accept that nation states might take more responsibility in European construction and push for more integration, to get things moving in a time of immobilism (oh good old Giscard) , but what is the real reason nation states are playing the predominant role in the EU? Some examples to illustrate the overall direction of their stance.
While the banking union is moving forward in a steady way (what other option the EU has? No single currency?) France and Germany are fighting over exceptions, as always. Lets take the competitiveness contracts debated today during the EU summit. For Germany, nation-states benefiting from these contracts have to sign mandatory contracts that lay down the structural reforms they need to undertake. Up till here I’m still following the thing. Then the French disagree, why? Because of the mandatory nature of the contracts. The French consider that the contracts have to be on a voluntary basis. What does this mean? The fund will give you money to finance your structural reforms, however the extent to which you apply these reforms is none of of the fund’s business. Try telling your bank I need a couple of thousand euros, but i can’t show you my balance sheet, I’m an independent free man! Does not work that way!
A second point. Mr Van Rompoy, the president of the EU Council, a European leader, is having fun throwing punches at his own EU….
« Such arrangements should be differentiated depending on member states’ specific situations, » it says. « This would engage all euro area member states, but non-euro member states may also choose to enter into similar arrangements. »
What does this mean concretely? It means there is something called European construction, and even if the crisis is a factor that might push us to more integration, we give you, member states, the freedom of applying integration measures as you wish. So you can feed on European funds, however you are not accountable to Europe.
« The situation requires that we work with a focus on our goal, to resolve the foundational errors of the euro. There is a shared determination not only to preserve the euro as a currency but also to strengthen its foundations, »
Yes Ms Merkel, resolve the foundational errors of the euro. Intergovernmentalism and each member state has it its own way are also foundational errors of the euro. Repeated again and again and again.
Let us face reality for once. Even when we talk about the slimmest of details, member state leaders are not willing to push forward. So why the Union in the first place?