Charlemagne: Summit for one | The Economist.
Summit for one
The self-delusion of European leaders as they wrangle over yet another treaty
Jan 7th 2012 | from the print edition
“DINNER for one”, a 1963 British comedy sketch barely known in its country of origin, is Germans’ favourite television viewing on New Year’s Eve. Year after year they delight at the sight of Miss Sophie celebrating her 90th birthday with only her butler, James, for company. He is commanded to follow “the same procedure as last year”, going around the table impersonating each of the now-dead dinner guests, raising toast after toast and becoming ever more drunk.
As one awful year for the euro zone made way for another, the German television network ARD digitally retouched the original sketch to create a spoof of European Union summits. Angela Merkel was the bossy dowager. Nicolas Sarkozy was the faithful butler, taking on the roles of departed leaders: George Papandreou of Greece, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain and, although he is still in office, David Cameron of Britain. (Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi is a tiger-skin carpet on the floor.) The joke was clear: summits are empty charades, only Mrs Merkel matters and Mr Sarkozy is her comical servant.
Read the full article here: The Economist
Britain and Europe, divided by more than a channel – The Washington Post.
Britain and Europe, divided by more than a channel
Oh, how I love humanity,
With love so pure and pringlish,
And how I hate the horrid French,
Who never will be English!
— G.K. Chesterton
Under the strain of the debt crisis, Europe is revealing cracks it has long tried to plaster, paint and ignore.
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent veto of a tighter European fiscal union brought angry criticism. Some continental legislators called for a European Union without the inconvenience of the United Kingdom. French leaders, with their own country’s credit rating under threat of downgrade, tried to direct the attention of rating agencies to British economic failures — a blame-shifting strategy practiced by guilty children on playgrounds everywhere. “There are few more comic spectacles,” responded the Daily Mail, “than Frenchmen throwing fits of Gallic pique against the victors of Waterloo.” In hours of national need, England still turns to the Duke of Wellington. History persists.
Read the full story here: The Washington Post
The Merkelization of Europe – By Paul Hockenos | Foreign Policy.
A European Germany has become a German Europe — and it’s all downhill from here.
BY PAUL HOCKENOS | DECEMBER 9, 2011
Not so long ago, France
was the political driver and Germany the economic motor of the European Union
. “Now,” remarked former European Commission president
Romani Prodi in February, it is Merkel “that decides and Sarkozy
that holds a press conference to explain her decisions.” This searing image could be embellished with the 24 EU members cowering in the press room — and Britain now
watching through the window.
Now that Britain has sidelined itself from the historic “fiscal compact” concluded in Brussels on Dec. 9, which provides the EU with new powers to enforce stricter discipline in national budgets, the community appears even more fiercely segregated within its own ranks. Pathetically, the Brits walked not because of the starkly deficient democratic procedure or the fact these governance changes wouldn’t adequately address the euro quagmire, but rather to protect London’s financial services industry from regulations that were part of the deal.
This isn’t the way European Union was supposed to work, not at all, and Germany’s one-woman show — ostensibly in Europe’s name — could well doom the continent’s beautiful project. Merkel may look like the big winner today, seemingly with Europe at Germany’s feet, but this turn of events could well prove to no country’s detriment more than Germany’s.
Read the full story here: Foreign Policy