November 8, 2013

Domination over Europe


2013/11/05 BERLIN (Own report) - German government advisors support the establishment of new integrationist procedures to pre-empt future resistance to German predominance over the EU. "A major redistribution of power" is currently taking place in Europe, with France and Great Britain falling clearly behind Germany, according to a recent declaration of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). In Southern Europe, there are already massive protests against the German government's dictates. These have not yet had major consequences, but timely preventive measures should be taken to pre-empt the establishment of a "countervailing power." The SWP's suggestions support various initiatives from within Berlin's establishment aimed at consolidating German domination over the EU and pushing the next German government toward a more offensive global policy. The German president, for example, called in this year's National Holiday speech for a more offensive German approach to global politics, and the SWP pleads for Berlin to assume a more decisive "leadership." Whereas German predomination over the EU is today taken for granted, a shift is perceived in relations to the most important global rival - the United States.

A Major Redistribution of Power
As was reiterated in a recent declaration by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) "a major redistribution of power is currently taking place in the EU," in which Germany is becoming stronger: "Germany's relative clout is growing." At the same time, Germany's European rivals are losing ground: "France and the southern countries are being affected by the debt crisis to a growing extent and are thereby losing influence." Not only Paris, but even London, according to the SWP, is becoming structurally weaker: "through the process of sifting out into an Euro-core zone and a union periphery - to which Great Britain belongs - London's significance is also subsiding,"[1] writes the SWP author, adhering to, what has become, a widespread opinion on EU power relations.[2]

A Global Offensive
Before the next German government takes office - which in all probability, will be accompanied by a crushing parliamentary majority, and enjoy wide-ranging popular support - influential forces in the German capital are now pushing for a new global political offensive. More and more "voices inside and outside our country are demanding a stronger German commitment in international affairs," claimed German President Joachim Gauck in this year's National Holiday speech.[3] Today's Germany is "more powerful and influential" than "any democratic Germany in history," according to a new SWP strategy paper, penned with the collaboration of high-ranking politicians and ministry officials, including the head of the foreign ministry's Policy Planning Staff, and which is being aggressively debated. "Germany will have to lead more often and more resolutely in the future," contend the authors.[4] Even important partial demands, permitting Germany's more resolute global expansion, are currently being emphasized. For example, one influential Foreign Ministry advisor demands that the obligatory parliamentary consent for German military missions be restricted.[5] Influential CDU politicians, including Defense Minister, Thomas de Maizière, have now picked up this demand.

A "Good Hegemon"
In a recent declaration, the SWP now points out that Berlin's European power basis cannot be considered reliably consolidated. "For more than three years, there have been demonstrations against the austerity policy measures in the crisis countries of the Eurozone." The demonstrators part apparently from the premise "that the most important decisions are not being taken in Athens or Lisbon, but rather in Brussels and mainly in Berlin." They often recall "German aggressions during the first half of the last century." "The message" is transmitted "that the Germans today, are using economic means to achieve what they were militarily unable to - the domination over Europe." Until now, these protests have done little damage, "Germany is still being seen" - this judgment is evidently based on the local mainstream media and leading politicians - "as a relatively 'good hegemon'."[6] However, this situation is not at all stable.

Indispensible German "Leadership"
In fact, various EU member countries' politicians and major media organs are currently pledging allegiance to German leadership. For example, recently the "Irish Times" wrote that "the next Merkel-led administration will see its relative power grow in deciding matters in Europe." This is not only due to Germany's consolidated strength, but also the weakness of other EU powers. France’s economic fragility and its incapacity for reform have left it on the back foot. Italy has "to go cap-in-hand to Frankfurt for assistance. Rome now exercises less influence than ever in setting Europe’s agenda." With Britain outside the Euro zone and the probability increasing that it will exit the EU altogether, its voice in Brussels "has never been listened to less on matters of continental importance." Germany's "leadership" has become "indispensable." Merkel has not shown that "leadership." It is to be "hoped" that "her new coalition partners stiffen her spine and make her bolder in getting to grips with the continent’s many challenges."[7] The renowned Irish journal published this opinion column on September 1, 2013 - the 74th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, igniting World War II.

Countervailing Power - a Possibility
The author of the SWP declaration warns that the situation could change at any time. For example, "resistance to the growth of German power" will, more than likely, "develop, if the impression takes hold, that Berlin is increasingly taking decisions 'alone' for the rest of the EU." The author warns that growing resistance could become consolidated as a sort of "countervailing power." "To prevent the creation of such a countervailing power, means should be investigated, for counteracting the impression in the partner countries of wide-ranging subjugation." Such "misgivings about German hegemony" could be undermined by opening new possibilities for "cross-border participation." The author supports - not more explicitly defined - "transnational political procedures, aimed at cross-border participation:" political, insignificant integration tactics, aimed at transmitting to the southern Eurozone countries the illusion that they are helping to take decisions, thereby split future resistance. In the long term, this opens the possibility, the author advises, "of pre-empting the establishment of an anti-German block."[8]

Relations to the USA
Still unresolved is the question of how a global politically strengthened Germany should position itself in relationship to the USA. The SWP declaration only states that the United States is "relinquishing" "its stabilizer and mediator role" in Europe, "to concentrate its attention on Asia."[9] Apparently Germany will assume this role on the European continent, for which the author of the SWP declaration makes concrete suggestions. However, he takes no position on how the relationship between Berlin and Washington will develop in the future. german-foreign-policy.com will report on the current developments in this domain, tomorrow, Wednesday.

[1] Lars Brozus: Machtverschiebungen in der EU: wie Deutschland ein "guter Hegemon" bleibt; www.swp-berlin.org 31.10.2013
[2] see also Europe's Chancellor and Sleeping Demons
[3] see also Sleeping Demons
[4] see also The Re-Evaluation of German Foreign Policy
[5] see also Mehr NATO, weniger Parlament
[6] Lars Brozus: Machtverschiebungen in der EU: wie Deutschland ein "guter Hegemon" bleibt; www.swp-berlin.org 31.10.2013
[7] German leadership is indispensable for a properly functioning Europe; www.irishtimes.com 01.09.2013
[8], [9] Lars Brozus: Machtverschiebungen in der EU: wie Deutschland ein "guter Hegemon" bleibt; www.swp-berlin.org 31.10.2013


http://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/fulltext/58694

No comments: