I attended the first in the series of Transatlantic seminars at the Crystal MacMillan building of the University of Edinburgh entitled Britain, Germany and the future of Europe. Ironically the day when Cameron was unable to deliver his much vaunted statement of the UK’s proposed position in Europe.
The seminar was given by Hans Kundnani of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
These are the points I picked up:
The present status of European Integration particularly members of the Eurozone is:
- Integration at gunpoint
- Much stricter system controls and rules – Maastricht III
- Joyless union
In HK’s view these are diametrically opposed to the European Project at its outset.
As to Germany’s position
- Symmetry of an asymmetric position
- Export of the German Economic Model
- Emergence of the centre and the peripheries
- The EU as a vehicle for the soft elimination of the EU
Trust is Good, Control is better.
(This reminds me of Ogden Nash’s Candy is dandy, Liquor is quicker)
Something about Schuldenbremse – see
Greece and Italy have collective memories of Germany pre 1945
The EU is changing from a Network to a Hub and Spokes
States with Surplus and those with Deficits
Germany would like a European State (I paraphrase) but European states will never give up their individual sovereignties
The German Question opens again – see Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_question
The Euro breakup would kill the EU
Initially the EU was centred on German Economics and French Politics
But now French is subservient – happened in Sarkozy’s time – 10 years disparity
Now no single state can challenge German
Germany is the centre of Europe not only economically but geographically.
It was pride in the Deutschmark now its pride in its exports. HK considers Germany should be consuming more internally but from my experience Germans have been lavish in spending
Germany has been successful in Europe because of the euro
George Soros – Germany should leave the EU or lead the EU – but see above.
To the British / UK position
HK is a Europhile but
- Too much negative comments from the EU countries
- A common currency is essential but the UK will never agree
- Maastricht III would be an anathema
- A referendum is inevitable – the outcome is uncertain – you might like me feel that the UK will vote to leave. Leaving from the EU is possible but leaving the Euro countries is not
- The Europhiles are having difficulty in making a case for staying in
- HK looks to the EU to become a force for good with a strong Foreign Policy but people are in general not interested in foreign affairs
- Europe will become a 3tier organisation with at best the UK in Tier Three
- Look at the position of Norway – losing on all counts.
What about Scotland
HK couldn’t comment really but
- It could be Scotland in the EU and England out
- Scotland would probably need to apply from scratch
- Most likely have to accept the euro.