Thursday

29th Sep 2022

Merkel faces coalition troubles over euro-bailouts

Bavaria's conservative leader Horst Seehofer has threatened to withdraw support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition if more concessions are made to ailing euro-countries.

Seehofer, who chairs the Christian Social Union in Bavaria and is renowned for his polarising statements, told Stern magazine on Tuesday (3 July) that Germany's contribution to bailouts was already "borderline".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"The time will come when the Bavarian government and the CSU can no longer say yes. And I wouldn't then be able to support that personally either," he said. "And the coalition has no majority without CSU's seats," the party chief added.

His biggest fear, he said, is that markets will soon turn to Germany and start asking if it can cope with all the rescues: "That is the point I regard as the most dangerous of all."

As for eurozone's troubled economies, the Bavarian politician advised them to drop their debt mentality.

"The fact that others want to get at our money without asking too much of themselves is deeply human. But it won't solve the problem."

He also vented anger at the deal sealed last week at an EU summit, where Merkel was seen as giving in to demands from Italy and Spain on changing the rules of the yet-to-be-created permanent bailout fund to help Rome and Madrid lower their borrowing costs.

"We were debating about the stability pact in the Bundestag. And at exactly that time the government leaders of some euro countries were working to soften precisely those stability criteria. Who is supposed to understand that?"

Referendum suggestions made by finance minister Wolfgang Schauble are also a no-go in Bavaria: "Hands off our constitution! We have this constitution to thank for the most stable state and the most stable democracy there has ever been in German history. We don't want a different constitution."

Merkel on Tuesday denied there were any divergences with the Bavarian sister party. "I think that we will cooperate well in the coalition, not only on European issues," she said during a press conference in Berlin.

The Free Democratic Party, Merkel's other coalition partner, sprang to her defence. "At the current difficult time for the euro and Europe, Germany needs a stable government which is capable of taking action," said FDP secretary general Patrick Doring.

"On rough seas, you don't question the course or the leadership," he told Handelsblatt.

But Bavaria's Conservatives are not alone in being disgruntled. Finland and the Netherlands in recent days have also re-stated their opposition to having the bailout fund buy bonds to help out Italy.

Meanwhile Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, while visiting Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday, said his nation was not ready to put more money in the euro-rescue with no guarantees for reforms.

"The (Slovak) public's patience is wearing thin," Fico said.

Merkel is travelling to Rome on Wednesday to meet Prime Minister Mario Monti.

"We will try to overcome opposition from countries like Finland and the Netherlands, which have a certain intolerance towards stability mechanisms," Monti said on the eve of the talks.

Finland threatens summit deal over bailout fund

Finland is rejecting a just-agreed deal on letting the eurozone's permanent bailout fund buy government bonds on the open market, a change meant to lower Italy and Spain's borrowing costs.

Merkel links federal election with Europe

Next year's federal elections in Germany will be about Europe, said Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has spent the past two years shaping the eurozone's answer to its debt crisis in the face of scepticism at home.

Feature

Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

Europe's far-right celebrates Meloni victory

In Warsaw and Budapest, the prime ministers were quick to congratulate the new Italian leader, who — they hope — will back them in their battles with the EU over civil rights, rule of law and democratic backsliding.

Column

EU should admonish less, and listen more, to the Global South

Whether on Russia, or gas, or climate change, or food security, the EU's constant finger-wagging and moralising is becoming unbearably repetitive and self-defeating. Most countries in the Global South view it as eurocentric and neo-colonial.

Podcast

How Europe helped normalise Georgia Meloni

Should Georgia Meloni be considered neofascist? She insists she's a patriotic conservative. And indeed, if she's prime minister, she's expected to respect Italy's democracy — if only to keep money flowing from the EU.

News in Brief

  1. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  2. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  3. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  4. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  5. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  6. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  7. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap
  8. EU: Nord Stream explosions 'result of a deliberate act'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan
  2. Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy
  3. How US tech giants play EU states off against each other
  4. Deregulation of new GMO crops: science or business?
  5. The European shipping giants plying Putin's fossil-fuels trade
  6. Russian ideologue and caviar on latest EU blacklist
  7. Netherlands tops EU social safety net for the poor
  8. New EU rules to make companies liable for their AI failures

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us