Tuesday

24th Apr 2018

Political union beginning to take shape, Merkel says

  • Merkel: 'I am sure that this common sense of responsibility will remain with us far beyond the crisis' (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said a political union is beginning to take shape in the EU, but the Socialist opposition has accused her of putting the Union on an "incalculable" path after last week’s summit.

Speaking to German MPs five days (14 December) after an EU summit whose outcome has already been panned by the markets, Merkel said the crisis had seen Europeans “move closer than ever before.”

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Referring to a sense of determination in other EU leaders to overcome the eurozone problems, the chancellor said: “I am sure that this common sense of responsibility will remain with us far beyond the crisis.”

“This means nothing else than that a real political union is beginning to take shape.”

She said this would mean that all countries will eventually have to work more closely on laws together “even if that is not yet legally required and enforced.”

This will require a “change in thinking” in national parliaments and the willingness to put themselves in the place of others. “We should learn from the best in all areas,” said the chancellor.

Her speech in the Bundestag comes as the summit agreement by EU leaders has already been criticised for causing legal confusion while not convincing markets that the eurozone crisis is on the way to being properly solved.

At the meeting, up to 26 member states agreed to make an intergovernmental treaty on centralising budgetary surveillance, with only Britain remaining outside after it failed in its bid to get special exemptions for its financial services sector.

Promising MEPs that they would have "observer status" in the negotiations, Merkel said the treaty should be ready by March and then should pass through parliamentary ratification "as fast as possible."

Drawing a line under the division with London, Merkel said that while she regretted the outcome, the UK is and will in future remain an "important partner."

However she was fiercely criticised by the Socialist opposition leader, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

'Not harmless'

Mocking the chancellor for her pursuit of EU treaty change ahead of the summit, Steinmeier, he said the intergovernmental path chosen sounded “harmless at first glance, but it is not.”

“With this (solution) we are putting Europe on a politically and legally fully incalculable path.”

He pointed out that the Czech Republic, Hungary, Denmark and Finland could have problems with the agreement while noting that the European Commission will be making sure that the Lisbon Treaty, over which the commission is the guardian, will take precedence over the new pact as much as possible.

The centre-left politician also said he believed that the "alienation process" with Britain will prove unstoppable and that Germany will come to regret the situation in a "few months' time."

The opposition criticism comes amid in-fighting within Merkel's own coalition partner, the business-friendly Free Democrats, over the extent to which troubled eurozone countries should be helped.

On Wednesday, General Secretary Christian Lindner resigned as a result of the party's deep divisions on the issue.

Feature

What did the EU agree at its 'make-or-break' summit?

Amid the fog of terminology, draft and final conclusions and annexes, not to mention allegations and denials by EU polticians over the past 24 hours, EUobserver tries to make sense of what the summit actually agreed.

UK left out as 26 EU countries to draft new treaty

A group of 26 EU member states is to forge ahead with an agreement on tightening economic governance in the eurozone, following a summit in Brussels that saw the UK sidelined after it overplayed its hand. (Updated 1.30pm Friday).

Opinion

No more integration without more representation

Despite the many calls in recent months for another great leap forward in European integration, remarkably little attention is being paid to the EU’s growing democratic deficit.

Analysis

New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability

The EU's latest funding rules for European political parties and their think tanks fails to address the underlying problems of abuse. Instead of tackling the loans and donations culture, it has simply made access to EU funds a lot easier.

MEPs set limits to Macron's ambitions

The French president tried to woo the European Parliament but found that his quest for leadership will have to abide by the rules set by the European political groups.

Feature

Hungary activists defiant after 'Soros Mercenaries' attack

Immediately after Orban's landslide victory in April, a list of so-called 'Soros mercenaries' was published by pro-government media. Those on it - mostly human rights defenders, activists and Orban critics - are now anxious but vow to continue.

Analysis

New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability

The EU's latest funding rules for European political parties and their think tanks fails to address the underlying problems of abuse. Instead of tackling the loans and donations culture, it has simply made access to EU funds a lot easier.

News in Brief

  1. Far-right attack migrants on Greek island
  2. Merkel defends accepting UN refugees
  3. EU commissioner plans Malta 'money laundering' inspection
  4. Survey: Half of high polluting farms receive CAP subsidies
  5. Commission will 'not shy away' from Malta killing repercussions
  6. EU Commission opens probe on Alitalia state loan
  7. Paris suspect given 20-year sentence for Brussels shoot-out
  8. Merkel and Pena Nieto praise EU-Mexico trade agreement

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  4. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  6. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  7. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  8. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  9. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  10. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  11. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight

Latest News

  1. Juncker delays air quality action due to busy agenda
  2. Spain makes bid for EU anti-pirate HQ
  3. How Russian propaganda depicts Europe - should we worry?
  4. MEPs tell Chinese ambassador of concerns on trade
  5. Greenland votes with eye on independence
  6. EU court delivers blow to anti-abortion activists
  7. Hungary activists defiant after 'Soros Mercenaries' attack
  8. European Commission proposes whistleblower protection law