Tuesday, 11 January 2011

SPD: EU must be more cohesive

The SPD (the German Social-Democratic Party, the main opposition party at the federal level) has called for more cohesion in Europe, speaking about a quantum leap towards political union (though it doesn't seem to be advocating that just yet):

"The SPD leader has said the euro-zone crisis had proven the need for a dynamic European social democracy with a clear focus on future progress.

The only sensible way out of the crisis, he said, was to impose more EU regulation and to sideline the “congenital defect” of the euro: the lack of a common economic and financial policy.

“We need a quantum leap on the way to political union in Europe,” wrote Mr Gabriel in the Frankfurter Allgemeine daily yesterday.

“The first step is an economic-political co-ordination and co-operation that earns the name. Particularly for us Germans, who feel the tremors in world trade, this development is finally evident. For that reason we have to be the motor of this progress in the EU.”

Europe’s social democratic parties are best-placed to bring about this change, Mr Gabriel said, because they are historically concerned with “sharing fairly the economic fruits of progress”."

The SPD has decided to support Eurobonds (Tagesschau):

"Anders als die Bundesregierung macht sich die SPD für gemeinsame europäische Anleihen - so genannte Euro-Bonds - stark, um die Schuldenkrise in der Euro-Zone einzudämmen. Den Ländern der Euro-Zone könne damit ermöglicht werden, sich bis zur Maastricht-Schuldengrenze zu refinanzieren.

[Own Translation: Unlike the Federal Government, the SPD is for common European bonds - so-called Eurobonds - in order to dampen the Eurozone crisis. The Eurozone countries would then be enabled to refinance to the Maastricht debt limit.]"

Now that the crisis is at Portugal's door, and it looks like there will be another bail out soon, it's increasingly clear that the current mechanism not only doesn't solve any of the underlying problems (after all, the facility is just another lender), but it has failed to sufficiently restore market confidence to prevent the crisis spreading. The PES also back Eurobonds, and there are voices in France's UMP party calling for Sarkozy to drop France's resistance to the idea. With an election coming up in Ireland, it's a question we should be considering more seriously.

The Stability Fund has given the Eurozone some breathing space to decide what to do next. Hopefully these voices will encourage real consideration of where to go from here - otherwise we might find ourselves with an empty piggy bank, and nowhere to go.

No comments:

Post a Comment