Wednesday

16th Aug 2017

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".

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

"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.

Analysis

Visegrad lobby makes food quality an EU issue

Fico convinced the EU commission chief to take action in the perceived problem of discriminatory food practices, even though the evidence for the phenomenon is anecdotal.

Opinion

Setting course for strong and focused EU

From strengthening the internal market to completing the energy union, the prime ministers of Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland set out their vision for the EU.

News in Brief

  1. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  2. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns
  3. Danish police to investigate misuse of EU fishing rules
  4. German constitutional court questions ECB's €2tn spending
  5. Low support for Norway's labour party ahead of elections
  6. Slovakia's future is with core EU, says PM
  7. Italy relieved as migration drops to lowest level since 2014
  8. Eurozone industrial production slips

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  3. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  4. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  5. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  6. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  7. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  8. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  9. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  10. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides
  11. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  12. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey