Wednesday

29th Jun 2022

Merkel allies keen to curb EU powers

  • EU commissioners: too many for the Bavarians' taste (Photo: European Parliament)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian sister party, the Christian-Social Union (CSU), plans to call for fewer EU commissioners and less new EU legislation in next year's European Parliament elections.

"We need a withdrawal treatment for commissioners intoxicated by regulation," the party's four-page election strategy paper - seen by Der Spiegel and due to be adopted in January at a CSU congress - says.

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The draft text adds that a new court should be established to rule on disputes between member states and the European Commission.

It says the "competences court" should be composed of constitutional judges from member states.

Germany's own constitutional court, in Karlsruhe, has become a feared body in the EU decision making process after granting the Bundestag new powers on EU bailouts and eurozone economic governance.

The idea of reducing the number of EU commissioners is a long-standing CSU demand.

Currently, the college of commissioners comprises 28 members, one from each member state.

By comparison, the German government has 16 ministers, while the French has 21 and the British has 22.

The CSU also wants more "national referendums" on EU topics and a return of competences from Brussels to nation states in the areas of the "over-regulated single market and regional policy."

With local elections in Bavaria coming up in March, two months before EU elections, the CSU is aiming to appeal to voters with slogans which criticise "Brussels bureaucracy" and economic migration from eastern EU countries.

The CSU's views are not entirely shared by Merkel's larger Christian-Democratic Union or her coalition partner, the Social-Democratic Party.

But for his part, SPD politician and European Parliament chief Martin Schulz on Sunday told Tagesspiegel it may be "reasonable" to shrink the college of commissioners, so long as the goal is for the commission to become more efficient.

Schulz is tipped as the European Social Democrats' lead candidate for the next EU commission President.

The new grand coalition in Germany has improved his chances of getting the post.

Magazine

Bavarian elections spell trouble for Merkel

Merkel's sister party, the CSU, has won regional elections in Bavaria, but her Liberal coalition partner fared poorly in a bad omen for the Chancellor.

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EU leaders will also discuss eurozone issues with European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, as more and more leaders are worried about voters' distress at soaring inflation.

Opinion

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Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

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