He who comes too late is punished by life

Who would not remember Gorbatchev’s famous (mis)quote? “Dangers await only those who do not react to life”, the actual quote runs. And it seems to be happening again. EU leaders are stumbling from one EU summit to another in minuscule steps. Political elite failed to tell a bold European story, failed to engage in courageous steps and failed to be honest about what would be needed to save not only the euro, but also to make Europe a powerful player in the 21st century. We need a game-changing institutional European event, which more or less radically shifts the euro into fiscal federalism and the political system of the EU into a fully fletched European democracy. This is why we are confronted with two opposite dynamics: The very moment, the EU finally tries to develop a banking union by establishing a joint supervisory structure for its banking system to allow direct capitalization of banks, a step in the right direction, further processes of euro disintegration and fragmentation are happening quicker than expected and faster than the EU can react. Sometimes, good things can come too late…Time is running out for Europe on at least two fronts: The renationalisation of European banking system is fully under way, cross border lending between banks has nearly stopped, money transfers from Germany to other countries is curbed and some banks started calculating cross-border claims, an unthinkable procedure if the euro were to be considered permanent and irreversible. The irony of history might be recent decisions that were supposed to reduce contingency effects in case of e.g. Greek exit now make a euro break-up somehow feasible, though highly expensive. In addition, economic divergences between North and the South are actually increasing, not decreasing. The second disintegration is the one of public opinion. In Germany, but also beyond (the Finns are another example for a public turning hostile, let alone the British). Germans are fed up with the euro-crisis: 52% of Germans don’t like the idea of a United States of Europe and are against changing the Basic Law in order to save Europe, 74% of Germans disapprove of the idea of a common European state and only 33% agree with Schäuble’s idea of a directly elected EU president. 73% are against the introduction of eurobonds. Here, the irony is that in the very moment Germany embarks on a dynamic and open public debate about the potential constitutional consequences of any kind of debt mutualization in eurozone, German public opinion on Europe turns sour. The visible expression of this are numerous complaints in Karlsruhe with respect to the most recent ESM decisions at European Council, the refusal of the German President to sign ESM ratification law as well as recent letter of German economists against the Council conclusions. In 1955 Konrad Adenauer was told by his advisor that some 70% of German public would be against German rearmament, Adenauer’s response was simply: “And what do you do against this?” Well, the German government, and not only Merkel (contrary to what President Gauck said), does a lot these days to explain Europe, trying to turn around public opinion in a last-minute effort, and to prepare public for what needs to come next: deep cuts to national sovereignty. This argument made its way even to front page of the FAZ feuilleton. But public opinion follows its own logic. After 2 years of blame games (“lazy Greeks”) and victimization (“we pay for the rest of Europe”), it is increasingly hard to make a bold, above all, political and strategic case for Europe in Germany: We lost sight of the forest for the trees. As politics seems to have lost leadership and guidance on European question at large, German dynamics seem to suggest that further steps of European integration are either blocked by Karlsruhe, the Constitutional Court, or voted down by the people, a choice between two evils (…..)

Link: http://ecfr.eu/blog/entry/he_who_comes_too_late_is_punished_by_life

Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

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