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Schäuble wants brand new EU treaty

The Local · 2 Sep 2011, 08:14

Published: 02 Sep 2011 08:14 GMT+02:00

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According to a report in Friday's edition of the Bild newspaper, Schäuble thinks the only way out of the current debt crisis in the eurozone is if the EU completely transforms its contract with member states.

He says far-reaching reforms are necessary, "even if we know how difficult a treaty change will be."

Finding an agreement that all 27 members of the EU can sign up to is a notoriously difficult undertaking.

The latest attempt to give the EU a common constitution failed some years ago when several governments could not get the agreement past referendums. The Lisbon Treaty, which was eventually ratified, was a significantly watered down version of the constitution.

Schäuble's proposal would also draw a clear line between the 17 countries that use the euro, and the other ten – including Britain – that don't.

The CDU leadership also agreed on Thursday to allow the German parliament a say in any future billion-euro bailout deals of the EU fund European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).

Story continues below…

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:31 September 2, 2011 by William Thirteen
nice to know that someone is thinking beyond the current election cycle!
09:45 September 2, 2011 by storymann
Austerity is sweeping the continent, this in it self does not bode well for the debt ridden countries that are struggling to meet their obligations. Germany an export powerhouse with a hefty balance sheet wants member countries to adopt their financial model. Unfortunately what works for Germany does not work for other members like Spain with it's high unemployment. Greece and Portugal are not going to recover ,no amount of austerity is going to work.The ECB is laden with Greek and Portugese bonds that are junk at best. The EU not only needs financial reform ,it needs to develop an exit strategy for Greece and Portugal indemnifying their losses and protecting there depositors.The EU would be more manageable with out them.With them I see little chance for a new treaty being adopted.
09:58 September 2, 2011 by notatio
I begin to believe that the ECB is more a myth rather kind of monopoly services for securities settlement in the EC. Schäuble is clearly right, - but in the end of the day Germans will be blamed to be bullies, but still has to stick the most to the EC because of its past.
10:07 September 2, 2011 by derExDeutsche
With VAT increases already seeing organized protests and outright refusals to pay, I hope Schäuble has a plan for enforcing his measures, from Brussels... do they even HAVE a Govt. there?
10:31 September 2, 2011 by Navigator_B
The article says: "The Lisbon Treaty, which was eventually ratified, was a significantly watered down version of the constitution". Completely untrue, the two treaties were almost identical.

Former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who chaired the body that drafted the constitution, admitted at the time that the content was the same: "In terms of content, the proposed institutional reforms ­ the only ones which mattered to the drafting Convention ­ are all to be found in the Treaty of Lisbon. They have merely been ordered differently and split up between previous treaties .... Why this subtle change? Above all, to head off any threat of referenda by avoiding any form of constitutional vocabulary .... But lift the lid and look in the toolbox: all the same innovative and effective tools are there, just as they were carefully crafted by the European Convention".
11:15 September 2, 2011 by elboertjie
The EU is undemocratic, it never asked the people if they wish to join it and on the very few times they did ask, they ignored ALL of the 'NO' answers.

So, if the EU cronies already ignore the will of the people, why give even more power to them? This will simply turn us into greater slaves.
11:28 September 2, 2011 by jg.
Where to start....

I guess Herr Schäuble would like to see Article 103 removed from the Treaty of Nice, seeing as how everyone is ignoring it:

"The Community shall not be liable for or assume the commitments of central governments, regional, local or other public authorities, other bodies governed by public law, or public undertakings of any Member State, without prejudice to mutual financial guarantees for the joint execution of a specific project. A Member State shall not be liable for or assume the commitments of central governments, regional, local or other public authorities, other bodies governed by public law, or public undertakings of another Member State, without prejudice to mutual financial guarantees for the joint execution of a specific project."

Some cynics believe that the countries who now have more debt than their taxpayers can repay were intentionally encouraged into the current situation so as to facilitate their coercion into fiscal union.

Regardless of this, how naive are those of our politicians who believe that fiscal union and policies emanating from Brussels will fix everything? The citizens of the countries with the biggest problems won't tolerate austerity measures and won't all pay their taxes, for their own politicians, whom they elected They are even less likely to accept harsher measures from foreign politicians in Brussels who they have never heard of.

Assuming that the tighter fiscal union is foisted on us, in the same way as the Lisbon Treaty (i.e. no referenda, because we cannot be trusted to vote the right way), all that will happen is BAU: the problem countries will continue to lose money and (mostly) German taxpayers will continue to pay for it. The markets can see through the political bullshit and have responded/will continue to respond accordingly.
16:39 September 2, 2011 by derExDeutsche
@ jg.

Bravo. You hit the nail on the head.
00:51 September 3, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ jg.

I think you changed the meaning of "to be liable for or assume". Following your logic, if I buy a house with the money I borrowed from a bank, it means that the bank "is liable for or assumes" my financial commitment regarding the house. Actually, I paid the house and there is no relationship between the bank and the one who sold me the house.

You also falsely state that there was no referendum for adopting the Lisbon Treaty. Have you heard of the Irish referendum of 2009? The treaty was ratified by the rest of the EU member states according to their own constitution (Ireland is the only country which stipulated referendum as the mean to adopt treaties like the Lisbon Treaty).

Who are the cynics you mention? Friends of yours or relevant influential people?

The fiscal union is a natural step to be taken by the EU. The debt crisis is just accelerating the discussion of this issue. If there are countries that cannot follow common fiscal policies, they would probably be offered the opportunity to re-join the Union once they are mature from this point of view.
11:57 September 3, 2011 by jg.

In plain English, the clause means that The Community should not take on debts of individual member states - but that is precisely what has happened with recent bailouts.

I have not falsely stated anything. The Irish rejected the Lisbon Treaty but were made to vote again, until they voted the right way.

"The treaty was ratified by the rest of the EU member states according to their own constitution"

Not true. For example, the British government does not have the right to alter its own powers. Successive British governments have promised referenda on these issues but have not delivered on these promises because they are well aware of polls that show a complete lack of public support for federalisation. Most member state governments seem to have decided that, because they were elected to power (some on the back of a referendum promise), that they now have a mandate to sign up to anything.

Furthermore, several states were supposed to have a vote on the EU Constitution but were denied this because the constitution was renamed as a treaty, with only a few changes.

"Who are the cynics you mention? Friends of yours or relevant influential people?"

I see - so I and my friends are not important enough to be allowed an opinion? By "relevant influential people", I guess you mean the sort of politicians who believe in ignoring their voters - but the "relevant influential people" may actually be the decision makers in the financial markets (some of whom are my cynical friends).

Here in Germany, the FDP seem fairly unimpressed with recent events and may yet show their "relevant influence" by withdrawing from the coalition.
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