Berlin insists on full treaty change ahead of Brussels summit
Berlin today said there must be formal treaty change involving all 27 member states of the European Union, or at least binding agreement on the 17 in the eurozone, to calm markets and rescue the currency bloc.
German politicians have therefore rejected proposals by EC president Herman Van Rompuy that greater uniformity on budgets between countries in the region could be achieved by minor legislation, not wholesale treaty amendments.
The latest statement, made by an unnamed senior official representing Germany’s authorities to the Financial Times today, implicitly rejects this, and also puts extra pressure on Germany’s neighbours in the common currency zone to follow Berlin’s lead.
The German source said a “decisive step to restructuring the eurozone is needed [and] we cannot achieve that with a whole collection of small steps.”
Leaders of all the countries gather tomorrow in Brussels to form a plan to strengthen – some say ‘save’ – the trading bloc.
German chancellor Angela Merkel was put under extra pressure herself today, as 21 leading German industrialists and academics set out their demands to stop this crisis, and to avoid others in future.
According to a letter released by the Elysee palace today, Merkel and her French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy are putting forward “a new treaty basis” for the bloc at the Brussels pow-wow.
As widely expected, these would require eurozone member states to commit to balanced budgets, and introduce penalties for rule breakers on debt and deficit cutting.
The leaders of the eurozone’s two largest economies say the measures “must be taken without delay”.
Doing this is “indispensible for the credibility and the confidence in the future of the economic and monetary union,” according to the Financial Times source.
Perhaps the European politician under most pressure, though, is Great Britain’s prime minister David Cameron.
He faces the pressure of his country’s essential trading partner collapsing, pressure from factions of his own Conservative party to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, or at least fight harder to take powers back from Brussels.