Political parties in Germany are getting ready for a tough campaign throughout the summer for parliamentary elections in late September. As far as the euro crisis is concerned chancellor Merkel and finance minister Schäuble are trying to delay each and every step towards a comprehensive solution.
This is due to the fact that a substantial part of the public—especially conservatives—is buying into the narrative upheld by the government that all other countries but Germany are to blame for the crisis and that there’s no alternative to austerity. But as events over the course of a week have shown, this story more and more is turning into a political dead end and it will be quite difficult to retain it until elections have been held.
Then France’s socialist party made headlines when a draft paper surfaced which condemned
the selfish intransigence of Chancellor Merkel who thinks of nothing else but the savings of depositors in Germany, the trade balance recorded in Berlin and her electoral future.
Of course Hollande’s government tried to ease tensions and rejected the harsh comments, calling them “totally counter-productive.”
Subsequently EU social affairs commissioner Laszlo Andor asserted that “saving alone does not create growth.”
He told the press that France and Belgium are are complaining about Germany because of an unfair competitive advantage gained by wage dumping. To counter this trend Andor called for the implementation of a minimum wage in Germany.
Not even twenty four hours later, the next assault came from the new Italian prime minister Enrico Letta, who was just sworn in yesterday. Standing before parliament, he emphatically expressed:
Italy is dying from fiscal consolidation. Growth policies cannot wait any longer.
He argued that the EU is facing a ‘crisis of legitimacy’ and will lose the support of the citizens if it will not turn into a ‘engine of growth’ again. Tomorrow he’ll travel to Berlin and try to convince Merkel about changing course.
Now, that the short-lived ‘austerity consensus’ is eroding completely – in a ‘double movement’ on the theoretical and political side – we will see how that plays out with the opposition parties and the German voters in general. I hope we will not witness some kind of ‘Burgfrieden’.