acting-man.com / By Pater Tenebrarum / October 23, 2012
European Discord Mounts – The Fraying Franco-German Alliance
The most important alliance within the EU, the one that has ultimately defined the union’s course over the past few decades, is the French-German axis. It appears that this is no longer the case. The once so strong friendship is in danger of fraying ever since the socialist Francois Hollande has become president of France. Not only was he elected on an ‘anti austerity’ platform (disguised as a ‘pro growth’ agenda, which is of course one of the most laughable misrepresentations ever), it has turned out that his big-brother, anti-free market socialist agenda wasn’t merely an electoral ploy to differentiate himself from Sarkozy. He actually means it.
This puts him at odds with the at least nominally conservative chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel. Shortly after Hollande’s election, the tone of commentary emanating from Germany was still marked by cautious optimism. Sure, so the story went, Mrs. Merkel would have preferred it if she had been able to continue working with Mr. Sarkozy. But we don’t always get what we want, and surely it would be possible to find enough common ground with Mr. Hollande on questions concerning Europe. However, in the euro area, it is no longer so easy to completely divorce domestic policy from euro-land policy. And Hollande’s domestic policies are setting a terrible example.
How can Germany demand free market-oriented reforms and austerity from the periphery while the French president implements anything but with great fanfare in France?
The growing rift was not yet as glaringly evident during the first EU summit in which Hollande took part, although the summit was notable for creating the impression that ‘Germany was backing down on key demands’ according to the press – ostensibly due to Mario Monti digging in his heels. However, Monti, Rajoy, Hollande and Merkel had met ahead of the summit to clear up the most important questions, so it seemed likely that we merely witnessing an example of well staged political theater. Monti was under great deal of political pressure at the time and had to return home with a ‘victory’.
In the run-up to last week’s ‘banking union’ summit, the vast gulf between the diverging opinions of the French and German administrations garnered some attention however. Apparently this time, it was rather more difficult to find common ground. As ‘Der Spiegel’ noted at the time, it seemed as though the moniker ‘Merkozy’, which was at first replaced with ‘Merkollande’, was on the verge of being shortened to ‘Merde‘: