Merkelmania

As Emmanuel rightly noted, “the other big winner of the (EU) summit is of course Angela Merkel”. As he also goes on to note, “the Süddeutsche Zeitung may be overdoing it with a “the Angela-summit” title, but Merkel has emerged, somewhat unexpectedly considering her lack of experience at the European level….”.

Well, it seems that the snowball-effect is working apace. The EU observer informs us today that “German chancellor Angela Merkel has been crowned the queen of the EU budget by the press”, and in another article asks whether our Angela might not in fact become the saviour of the EU constitution.

My reaction to all this is “now just hold on a minute”. Angela Merkel has just been elected to the head of a pretty complicated coalition government in a country which has some hard problems to solve and some difficult decisions to take. My guess is holding all of that together is going to be occupying a lot of Angela Merkel’s energy and attention by the time we get through to 2007, and discussion of her future role in dynamising EU institutions is, to say the least, rather premature. I don’t know if any of our German based readers have any observations to make about this?

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

5 thoughts on “Merkelmania

  1. “now just hold on a minute”

    I think Christmas is near and people just want to end the year on a more positive note. She was the right news at the right time. And she helped getting something done, which is no simple achievement, to be honest. But the real cause, in my book is, that she was able to kill the deal Schröder made with Chirac in October 2002 when he was still very much the outsider on the Iraq issue and badly needed an ally. To bind France to Germany on this issue, he offered agricultural subsidies, the currency most liked by the French since the dawn of ages. Now Chirac’s a pretty lame duck due to his own political miscalculations and he has single handedly reduced France’s influence in the EU. I’m thinking France now needs Germany more than the other way round, which has not been the usual constellation in the EU. Merkel has a reputation for being rather pro Atlantist. I think that leaves her with more room for negotiation with the French than a lot of German chancellors had. And much of the British rebate is simply factually unjustifiable anymore, so that it’s hard to defend it once there is no real antagonist anymore. Enter Merkel. I don’t think it’s because of her, but because she was the right woman at the right time and place.

  2. “I think Christmas is near and people just want to end the year on a more positive note.”

    Well then let me try out my 2005 Xmas joke on you. You will have noted in the Malmberg/Morales post I mention the ‘demographic dividend’. Well logically, as all this unwinds and you get elderly instead of youth dependence (I know, I know, this is supposed to be a joke, I’m getting there)…… well then you should get a demographic penalty (not very funny is it?), ah but wait… courtesy of Wim Wenders and Peter Handke… you wouldn’t be prepared to agree that all that creeping pessimism was just another case of the goalie’s fear of the penalty kick, would you? :).

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