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High hopes for Merkel and Germany realistic?

by whataboutbob Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 04:44:23 AM EST

From Spiegel Online via this morning's European Breakfast:

GREAT EXPECTATIONS - Allies May Be Expecting More from Merkel than She Can Deliver

Allies seem to have unlimited expectations for Germany these days, hoping that Chancellor Angela Merkel will play a key role in resolving the European Union's constitutional crisis, mediating in the Iran conflict and settling disputes with Russia. But Merkel, in an effort to avoid being saddled with impossible tasks, has balked at being pressured to play everyone else's game.(...)

The EU summit plodded along joylessly, ending in a general consensus that the biggest problem facing the organization should be postponed. Now, it will be left up to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to deal with the difficult challenge of resolving Europe's constitutional crisis when she assumes the revolving EU Council presidency next year.

The Europeans aren't the only ones with high hopes for Merkel and the Germans. Germany is playing a central role in the delicate negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, despite the fact that, unlike the remaining players, it is not one of the veto powers on the United Nations Security Council. Quarreling major powers Russia and the United States are also looking to the Germans to play the intermediary on several contentious issues, including disputes over energy, NATO expansion and Middle East policy.

So let's see, many of her allies are wanting Merkel and Germany to cure all the woes that they aren't able to cure, but Germany has no real authority to do this. Should Germany be given more authority? And does Germany want this authority?

The scant media bandwidth in Germany that is not being consumed by the World Cup is dominated by this week's parliamentary debate on the 2006(!) national budget. Other big (as in hot-button) topics include health care "reform", revisions to Hartz IV, corporate taxes and the anticipated effects of the recently ratified 3 point VAT increase. Foreign policy initiatives are filed under "other business".

The English-language press these days is trying to castd Merkel in the role of a Bismarkian "honest broker". Bismark made this work through the weight of his personal authority. But Merkel (to her credit!) is no Bismark.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 05:11:27 AM EST
The view in the liberal media here in the UK is that with Blair/Brown/Cameron fixated on their transatlantic love-in & Chirac fixated on..well whatever it is, there are no otehr leaders in Europe who can take a lead in dealing with pan-european issues. Especially when there is such a confusion in EU foreign policy.

Mainly these are, in themselves, only  minor disconnects. But being all over the place they together represent a bigger snafu than they in reality are. whether Merkel will be able to separate the the trees from the forest, let alone do anything about them will be interesting.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 06:17:56 AM EST
There is Zapatero and Prodi, both pro-EU and on the rise in "large" member states. The real problem is the French paralysis and there's nothing that can be done about that until 2007. The July-December EU presidency will be the first one that will be able to do anything productive, assuming a genuine pro-EU president takes over in France, not someone that Jerome would describe as "paying lip service to th European ideal".

If you have Spain, France, Italy and Germany, you can probably linp along without the UK and Poland.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 06:30:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you have Spain, France, Italy and Germany, you can probably linp along without the UK and Poland

Here's hoping anyway

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 07:02:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
both wont be wanting and wont be exepcting her to bring home
by observer393 on Thu Jun 22nd, 2006 at 10:40:36 PM EST

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