• Germany's news in English

Germany dampens EU crisis summit hopes

The Local · 7 Dec 2011, 16:41

Published: 07 Dec 2011 13:38 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Dec 2011 16:41 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said he expected "very challenging and occasionally very difficult talks" at the two-day meeting in Brussels that aims to come up with a definite solution to the euro's crippling debt crisis.

Earlier, a government source who insisted on anonymity told reporters he was "more pessimistic than I was last week on the chances of a total agreement."

He said that preparatory talks had given him the impression that "several partners have not yet understood the seriousness of the situation."

The German source's comments depressed the euro on the foreign exchange markets and pushed down stocks that had previously opened in buoyant mood on renewed hopes the summit could provide the final deal.

He said that those blocking progress to what France and Germany see as the right solution to the crisis were "institutions as well as member states," setting up a possible conflict between Berlin and the European Commission.

Paris and Berlin are convinced the only way out of the crisis is by changing the EU treaties to plug gaping holes in the construction of the euro, introduced with great euphoria less than a decade ago.

Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Germany was travelling to Brussels with the desire for a "new legal framework" for the EU as a response to the eurozone debt crisis that has threatened to tip the bloc into recession.

The Franco-German power couple at the heart of Europe wants treaty change as a way of strengthening budgetary discipline and automatically punishing countries that do not play by the rules.

However, the head of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, has said in a leaked report that tighter budgetary rules could be agreed quickly and simply, without recourse to treaty change.

Van Rompuy wants leaders to agree to amend a protocol attached to the EU's Lisbon Treaty, a proposal the German source indirectly attacked as a "typical Brussels bag of tricks."

And Germany, Europe's top economy and political powerhouse, does not seem to be in a mood to negotiate.

"There will be no useless compromises made with this government," another senior source said.

Berlin appeared to strike down several propositions made to solve the crisis, including turning the EU's future bailout fund, the ESM, into a bank and pooling debt in the eurozone in the controversial form of eurobonds.

Eurobonds, said the source, would "increase the problems, not ease them," adding: "I don't think that anyone can seriously say that eurobonds are the right answer to this crisis."

The source also dismissed reports that the ESM could run in parallel with the existing bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), stressing: "The ESM must follow the EFSF."

The "indispensable" result of the summit must be "at least" a deal between the 17 countries that share the euro, imposing on them "legally binding" rules to stop such a crisis happening again, Berlin believes.

However, amid fears of a so-called "two-speed Europe" emerging, the source was at pains to add that any country outside the euro was "cordially invited" to sign up to such a deal.

Story continues below…

There was likely to be a meeting of the 17 eurozone leaders on the sidelines of the EU meeting, the source said, but it was not yet clear exactly when this would be.

"There is no question of making a closed eurozone," the German source said, as British Prime Minister David Cameron for one faces an ever-louder clamour for his country to leave the embattled European Union altogether.

Whether or not Europe does manage to thrash out a solution to a crisis that many, including Merkel, have described as the worst since World War II, it is unlikely to happen quickly.

The summit begins on Thursday with a working dinner and continues into Friday.

However, "we don't have anything planned for the weekend," the German source said, rolling his eyes.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:58 December 7, 2011 by luckylongshot
The efforts being made to try to save the Euro are not in the interests of the general public. The public interest would be much better served by a Euro break up and a cancelling of all the debt. This is because the level of debt is now so high it can never be repaid. Should a Euro break up occur the time would be right for governments to reclaim the right to issue money. They would then be able to do so without attaching interest. At this point the crisis would be solved.

Letting The Euro fail is not a radical idea. Fiat money has failed every time in history that it has been used and this has happened over 1000 times.

The efforts to save the Euro are in the interests of the small group of private bankers who own most of the debt as they also own the right to create money. They literally can create money out of thin air and governments must borrow from them and pay them interest. Unfortunately they have enormous power and seem to be able to control governments. They are aware of this:

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes its laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild

What is really going on with the Euro crisis is the power of the private banks is being challenged by the unstoppable force of too much debt. The politicians are caught in the middle and do not know what to do. Either they will act in the interests of the bankers or their electorates. To date, apart from in Germany, the electorates interests have not been taken seriously. My hope is the Angela Merkel holds her tough position.
16:22 December 7, 2011 by Beachrider
Soooo. Why would anyone believe that Germany would be any more responsible for any new-currency that it would issue. Punting on the Euro would severely damage Germany's credibility.

The Rothschild stuff is codewords for bad-stuff from Germany's pre-WW2 times.
17:30 December 7, 2011 by _JD
I disagree with lucklongshot's analysis. The European left coalitions and the trade unions all want to preserve the Euro. Losing the Euro will hit Germany instantly, particularly the working class who will suddenly have to make do with Hartz IV.

If Merkel doesn't stop she will go down in history as the master reverse alchemist ( - as Yanis Varoufakis terms them) turning gold into lead, leaving 70 years of progress in rubble for a motivation that was never really clear.
17:40 December 7, 2011 by derExDeutsche
LOL. yeah, a lot more than just 'Rothschilds' in on the game these days. But the game is the same. Without Merkel and German's memories of the Weimar Republic, the printing presses would be whirring. If the Toskana and the French had their way, the 100,000 coin could make a return.
19:27 December 7, 2011 by Tharwat
hahaha, look at Angela's photo she looks like smelling a nice fresh cup of coffee :)

with all due respect to all analysis here and on other media - dont you think a nice warm cup of coffee is enough to settle many differences - this will pass like nothing ever happened
20:41 December 7, 2011 by coffejohn
This is starting to read like a soap opera, do`s this women know what she wants!
21:16 December 7, 2011 by Frederic 53
The whole Euro Crisis is talked up from the media and people who have interest in that.The Us are more indebted as the Italians,but have a triple AAA RATING.

WHO believes that the US will be able to pay their debts back ever.
05:54 December 8, 2011 by paulson
Why should Germany bail out other profligate spenders in the EU when its citizens need to protect their own banks? Pursuing bailouts via the ECB still requires austerity on other nations who will place pseudo trade barriers in revolt against the unpopular France and Germany. German exports will dwindle whilst the German citizens will still be bailing out the rest of the union. Why bother? Germany should bail from the euro and let the private risk takers suffer their consequences. Sure it will be painful but at least Germany will survive the failed Euro experiment.
10:49 December 8, 2011 by freechoice
will they kill the Euro? it's kind of a hassle to go to money exchange again, when i want to travel across the border!
12:01 December 8, 2011 by luckylongshot
Using an analogy the fractional reserve banking system is a parasite that lives off the blood (money) of the body ( Global economy). Life has gone on until the parasite has got to big and too greedy (the present). Then the weakest parts of the body started to die (Greece etc.). What needs to happen is either the parasite needs to shrink back to a size where it does not cause illness or the parasite needs to be destroyed. What is being proposed is to make the parasite even bigger. This solution will only lead to more illness. What I suggest is to get rid of the parasite and return to a publicly owned money system where money is based on hard assets and has no interest attached. I have seen reports that if this was done the savings would be enough to effectively double the incomes of everyone in the world apart from the private banking elite.
12:35 December 8, 2011 by freechoice
those parasites should cough up the dough for bankrupting the economy. let say we have a save the national economy tax!! what do you think?
14:24 December 8, 2011 by luckylongshot
I completely agree with you that the private bank parasites are to blame for much of the suffering occurring in the world and that they should pay. One way to make them do this is to cancel all the debt we owe them. The next way we could do this is strip them of the right to create money and return this right to the public. While it would be fair for these people to go to jail this is unlikely as they seem to own the governments in Europe. There are already political parties around the world that are based on new economic ideas like these and my hope is some form in Europe so the public have the opportunity to vote for them.

In terms of replacing the Euro governments could reintroduce currencies based on hard assets they own. They could then swap these currencies for what people hold in bank accounts in Euros. This would limit the money supply and this would ensure prices are stable. As European economies are mature and populations relatively static there is no longer a need fór dramatically increasing money supply. It is also possible that local currencies could be created so that intra community trading could occur. Money is only a means of exchange and there is no reason it must have interest attached to it.
11:35 December 9, 2011 by AlexR
It is very interesting to see how the narrative has been changed in only 1-2 years. One year ago, it was only the "profligate" Greeks to blame for their crisis with their "low working hours, early retirement, huge public sector etc.".

Then the crisis spread to Ireland and Portugal and they received eurozone bailouts. Later Italy and Spain have received informal bailouts and few days ago 15 countries have been told that their credit ratings are likely to be downgraded, - including Germany and France.

Now that all the eurozone countries are facing the same more or less crisis, the narrative on the world media and here has been changed from "blame the profligate PIIGS" to "blame private bank parasites".

And suddenly the media (like the Guardian yesterday) decided to finally publish real data and facts from OECD, Eurostat and other organizations which show that the "profligate" countries were not profligate at all.

For example, based on that data, Greece doesn't have "low working hours" but actually the highest in Europe. Who has the lowest? The "hard-working" people of France, Germany and the Netherlands. Neither Greece has "huge public sector" but in reality one of the smallest with 12% of the workforce. Who has the largest? The "non-profligate" Scandinavian countries and France with 25-30%.
12:26 December 9, 2011 by funke
Angie can do whatever she wants, THE UK is not EVEN IN THE EU true ..I like others waited to see what would result in the on going EU crisis and efforts of Mr Cameron in trying to resolve it…NOT because of Britain¦#39;s interests but because BRITAIN is NOT in the EU and has no interests in it and having lobbied Mr Cameron , Mr Brown before him even Nick Griffin all those that claim to Love Britain - of this little matter of the Queens forefeiture of the Crown..not only is it needed for a new monarch to be sworn in as quickly as possible but that hey we are not in the EU as when the Treaty to join in was signed it was done by a forefeited monarch making it illegal according to British Laws.
Today's headlines
The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd