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Germany warns Britain not to 'blackmail' Europe
Photo: DPA

Germany warns Britain not to 'blackmail' Europe

Published: 24 Dec 2012 08:23 GMT+01:00
Updated: 24 Dec 2012 08:23 GMT+01:00

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has warned Britain against "blackmailing" its EU partners in a bid to bring powers back home from Brussels.

"We want to keep Britain in the EU and not force it out," Schäuble told the weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. "But I will also say that does not mean anyone can blackmail us."

Asked whether a debate raging in Britain about a possible referendum on the country's future in the 27-member bloc was "dangerous", Schäuble said the European Union needed to send a clear message to the rest of the world.

"Our British friends are not dangerous. But a referendum would create uncertainty," he said.

He said he only got "cross" with Britons over football, adding he hoped for "more British engagement in Europe, not less."

Britain has belonged to the European Union since 1973 but has not joined the 17-nation eurozone.

Schäuble has served as Chancellor Angela Merkel's main ally in Berlin in plotting an austerity-driven course to resolve the eurozone debt crisis as well as greater political integration of the bloc.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative, said last month he still supported British membership of the EU but could not accept the "status quo" and called for a "new settlement" involving the repatriatiion of some powers. He has so far avoided offering a clear "in-out" referendum despite strong pressure for clarity on the issue from his party.

Tensions flared last month when Cameron opposed a new €1 trillion EU budget for the next seven years, saying that it was unacceptable to raise spending at a time when many countries were implementing austerity measures at home.

A recent poll in British weekly newspaper The Observer found that 56 percent of Britons surveyed would vote to leave the EU given the chance.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:52 December 24, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
As long as Dr. Merkyl and Mr. Hyde impose their own agenda on the rest of Europe the rest of Europe will be uneasy with committing to the Euro dream. There is more than Germany in the Eurozone and the EU but affairs are being conducted more and more as if Germany is the only priority. Germany is by far the biggest gainer in contrast to the net losers of the Euro experiment such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland. The UK are fully entitled and right to hold back on commitment to this current EU regime.
09:14 December 24, 2012 by Zubair Khan
@Berlin fuer alles.

On 4th of December, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community while adressing select gatheirng of Europa Parliament said,

¦quot;The formation of the European Union has been a great achievement on the part of the European countries, for it has been a means of uniting this Continent. And so you should make all possible efforts to preserve this unity… Remember that the strength of Europe lies in it remaining united and together as one. Such unity will not only benefit you here in Europe but at a global level will be the means for this Continent to maintain its strength and influence.¦quot;

He is an eminent religious leader with no interest of grabbing any political power. His words carry lot of depth and wisdom. In my view point leaders of the continent have to show understanding to each others view point and should decide what is good for all the member states. Just and fair treatment with all the members of union should be ensured.Unfortunately if union broke it will be a catastrophe for the whole continent.
09:28 December 24, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Zubair. With all due respect. Religious leaders teachings do not interest me. They are neither elected or represent the wishes of the citizens of European countries or Europe.
11:00 December 24, 2012 by blackboot11
With all due respect, all religion should be kept separate from all EU politics. Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions alike.

As this is what fuels the the 'dark ages bickering' and prevents the EU's parliments from making any real progress.
11:15 December 24, 2012 by hech54
With NO due respect.....religious nutjobs need to keep their deluded mouths shut when it comes to matters of the real world.
11:50 December 24, 2012 by Englishted
I have always been a pro-European ,but as I see more and more power being removed from elected sovereign governments and replaced by the men and women in gray suits in Brussels .

The austerity measures are splitting Europe and the German arrogance towards is so called partners is breathtaking ,there is a fair chance G.B. will leave the E.U. sad but at least it will be a democratic decision which is unlike many of the ones now taken in the E.U. .

Will anyone be given a vote on greater expansion? ,that is a question that needs a answer .Because the last expansion caused a flood of immigration into the U.K. and others which has seen a rise of the right in many liberal western countries .

We are on a cliff edge and need a vision from Europe as to how we can recover not threats ,as well as more open and democratic running of the E.U. in general .

Germany is not immune to this change of attitude within the E.U. put that to a poll and I'm sure you will see simular results in fact many countries would feel something is wrong with the dream but the politicians will not ask the electorate.

p.s. Yes keep religion and race out of this debate.
12:09 December 24, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Fully agree with you Englishted. It is German's attitute towards the rest or Europe whilst things are going well that is driving a wedge into the European Community. Short memories when one considers how the Marshal plan got Germany onto her feet not so long ago.

And following up once more at Zubair and other religious followers. This is a democratic political debate. Religious leaders points of view do not belong on this stage. That goes for all religions equally.
15:55 December 24, 2012 by Sastry.M
Axis Germany recovered faster individually from ruins in the aftermath of ww2 than allied nations who fought collectively against her. Religiously Christian by faith, national remorse for collective guilt against atrocities committed against people of Jewish community was sought to compensate with monitory reparations to the victim people. Money funded by Marshal plan from kindred Christian nations apart, the road to reconstruction and recovery rested with the spirited hope of German people themselves, although ruined by the Nazi govt. during war and threatened by Communism from the east, with families torn apart between democratic free West and freedom constrained East after ww2.

Religion has no part in Democratic free approach but economic management should measure up to human sustenance rather than corporate capital with tax relaxations and economic austerities imposed on those who help build up capital and struggle to earn their daily bread.
16:05 December 24, 2012 by jg.
"...a referendum would create uncertainty..."

A simple in/out referendum would do the exact opposite i.e. clarify whether or not Britain should remain in the EU, with the closer integration that entails. Polls now show that a clear majority would vote for Britain to leave the EU and about 75% do not wish to cede further powers to the EC - perhaps this explains the broadly pro-EU but "sitting on the fence" attitude of both major political parties in the UK.

Voters over the age of 53 had an opportunity to vote for Britain to remain in the Common Market back in 1975. The mainstream political parties all supported a "YES" and told us "it is only a trading bloc, with no federal ambitions". Of course, we now know otherwise and documents recently declassified show that government ministers and senior civil servants discussed how to mislead the electorate, in the run up to the 1975 referendum.
16:45 December 24, 2012 by raandy
Englishted I also agree, I hope England does not throw in the towel. England is necessary for a true union.

Germany needs to realize what works in Germany does not always work elsewhere. Austerity will not lift the heavy indebted nations out and

It is noted that neither will Germany.

Religion, by all means keep that out of politics, as politics is bad enough with out making it worse.
18:11 December 24, 2012 by hech54
I still would LOVE for someone to explain to me how a country who refuses to use the currency of the EU has ANY say in the monetary affairs of the EU?
18:33 December 24, 2012 by sonriete
@hech54;

The euro is the currency of "some of" the EU member states. The markets play a large role in determining which entities have a say in world wide monetary affairs. A great deal of european banking business and influence has migrated to London and Zurich since the euro came into existence, precisely because the markets are uncomfortable with the political interference of Brussels which only seems to increase year by year.
20:56 December 24, 2012 by chris berlin
berlin für alles: the typical populism. Germany does not impose anything. All EU coutnries are represented in the EU parliament and Germany can never ever impose anything on the rest unless the majority of countries agree with Germany...

anti-german populism, you should become friends with berlusconi.
23:50 December 24, 2012 by Englishted
Deer all,

May I suggest a little article on the future German that may come about ,it is on Spiegel on line today called "Schäuble's Secret Austerity Plan for Germany2

read it and don't weep get very very angry with the lies and skullduggery of our now and hopefully not future masters.

Please let us know what you think.
01:08 December 25, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@chris berlin

Always on my case. Look at the media coverage in Germany on the Euro crisis and look at the sound waves coming out of the government mouths. Yes, EU countries are represented in the EU parliament but until either we break up the Euro zone or centralise more power to a European elected central EU parliament then Dr. Merkyl and Mr. Hyde and her Bangster buddies will run the EU and Eurozone for themselves. Germans are known as followers and it won't be until next year or later that enough of them realise she ain't doing them any favours either. Hopefully they will realise it before the next election but I won't bet on it.
01:17 December 25, 2012 by zeddriver
@jg said,

"Voters over the age of 53 had an opportunity to vote for Britain to remain in the Common Market back in 1975. The mainstream political parties all supported a "YES" and told us "it is only a trading bloc, with no federal ambitions". Of course, we now know otherwise and documents recently declassified show that government ministers and senior civil servants discussed how to mislead the electorate, in the run up to the 1975 referendum."

I would go further and ask where HASN'T there been a case of the government saying one thing and then doing the other. Or simply going far beyond the original stated boundaries. The government will ALWAYS take a mile after only asking for an inch. In America we call that the slippery slope. An avalanche always begins with a single snow flake.
11:31 December 25, 2012 by Englishted
@jg.

I am 53 and I didn't have a vote in 1973 as the U.K. does not give the vote to 16 year olds.
12:05 December 25, 2012 by Kennneth Ingle
The German government has every reason to be afraid of a referendum in Britain! They know quite well that most Germans would like to have the same chance.

For years now, all parties in the Bundestag have been deliberately avoiding the possibility of more political influence by the general public. They were not asked whether they wanted the Euro. They were not asked whether their young soldiers should be sent into other countries, to die for reasons little more than political prestige and they were certainly not asked whether tax-payers money should be wasted in foreign countries, to support corrupt governments, incapable banks and other unworthy organisations.

Britain may be a very unwilling member of the EU, but were Merkel and Co., to ask their own electorate what the people really want, the answer would have little relationship with the policies of the government. Cameron is not the best PM, and the government of Britain is a disaster for the country, but almost anything would be better than what the Germans now have in Berlin.
14:15 December 25, 2012 by Zubair Khan
@Berlin fuer alles and others

Instead firing salvos on the word religion, just examine the statement made. Any one can make any statement. Wise people say examine the words and not the person who said it. Unity has strenght and EU must preserve it.
16:50 December 25, 2012 by Deutschguy
Cameron is full of it. He's threatening this because Big Banks in The City dislike new regulatory structures insisted upon by the EU. The City does not want standardized accounting and auditing rules; any outside scrutiny; required transparency;, nor any restrictive reserve requirements.

Cameron is protecting the interests of banking houses, which we now know, were turned into casinos prior to 2008, thus harming the world economy and the finances of working families.

Cameron is pretending (along with "euroskeptics") that somehow Britain is losing sovereignty. Once capital could cross borders, sovereignty went out the window. Brits need to give up these quaint ideas of empire and paranoid populist notions that they have ceded power to 'foreigners'.

Merkel and Schäuble are right. And the interests of ordinary working people in Britain are better served by them than Cameron's anti-EU baloney.
23:47 December 25, 2012 by alf2
Germans pay E9 billion into the EU, Poles get E9 billion from the EU. The German government doesn't have a mandate to give German or Brtish money away.
09:13 December 26, 2012 by Sastry.M
A proverb in Sanskrit says: Pustakam Vanita Vittam para hastam gatam gatah -which means: book, women and money respectively, when go into others' hand are gone for good.

True, when transactions are direct between subject taxpayers and their elected ruling governance with 'Exchequer' owned co-jointly and transactions recorded and audited with allowable transparency. Third party Banking Bearers also should conform to the bilateral path of checks and balances, and not vested with the dark power of Maya holding its sway over both people and governments, whose transactions are carried out in gloomy lobbys of speculative corporate management houses.
12:39 December 26, 2012 by Englishted
@Deutschguy

Read this about your heroes and then come back and tell me why the Brits should trust them . "Schäuble's Secret Austerity Plan for Germany" it is in spiegel on line international 24.12.2012.
15:23 December 26, 2012 by goodhund
This is clear that "blackmailing" in any kind is just useless job.
15:39 December 26, 2012 by Deutschguy
@Englishted: I read the article, but I saw nothing duplicitous nor "secret" about any of it.

They are contingency plans, which every corporation and government should make. While Spiegel might want to garner readers' attention with some conspiracy headline, the facts simply don't bear that out.

To put a finer point on it: I trust government much more than Big Banksters when it comes to economic planning. We've had enough of bankers controlling government policy and regulations. In fact, it was that situation that caused the economic meltdown in 2008. And British banks were at some of the worst of it and are resentful of being reined in and are even more threatened by suggested EU bank reforms.
18:52 December 27, 2012 by Abertawe12
@ Raandy - It's not the dun thing to refer to GREAT BRITAIN as "england" this does cause offence. We are NOT all english that reside on this Island.
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