German Of The Day: Wiederaufbaufonds

That means reconstruction bonds. Or Eurobonds/Coronabonds light. Or Germany breaking a taboo and knuckling under to France to share debt with other EU countries, if you prefer.

Merkel

It’s hard to keep up with them. Politicians just can’t burn money fast enough these days.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel broke with her country’s longstanding opposition to raising money together with other – often poorer – EU countries. But the proposal made with French President Emmanuel Macron is limited in scale and duration, which could help her sell it to skeptics back home.

It consists of 500 billion euros ($550 billion) in loans and grants to help countries through the recession, and is viewed by some as a step toward stronger EU ties as the 27-country union faces challenges not just from the virus crisis, but from populist forces in member countries Hungary and Poland who want to loosen the bloc’s ties.

Werteunion ruft zu Widerstand gegen Merkel auf.

“Incomprehensible” And “Meaningless”

Are the previous court decisions ruling that the European Court of Justice can have primacy over national law in Germany. It’s also “incomprehensible” that it took so long for everybody to figure this out. I sure hope that this latest ruling won’t be ruled out as “meaningless” later but I’ve had my hopes dashed before.

Judge

Germany’s constitutional court sent shockwaves through Europe last week by ruling that the German government and the EU’s top judges failed to properly scrutinise the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme.

The judgment threatens to turn the European Commission against Germany, the EU’s biggest member state. It raises doubts over the primacy of the European Court of Justice over national law. It also risks driving a wedge between the ECB and its biggest shareholder, the Bundesbank.

Germany’s highest court dismissed an earlier ECJ ruling in ECB’s favour as “incomprehensible” and “meaningless”. That bombshell decision opened the door to potential legal challenges against the EU from other countries, such as Poland and Hungary, whose authoritarian governments are already at odds with Brussels.

I Got Your Quantitative Easing For You Right Here, Pal

Imagine that. A nation state (member state) ought to have a say in how its money is spent. What a radical new concept.

Court

Germany’s top court has ruled that the European Central Bank’s mass bond-buying to stabilise the eurozone partly violates the German constitution.

The ruling relates to government debt worth €2.1 trillion (£2tn; $2.3tn) bought by the ECB since 2015, but not purchases in the coronavirus crisis.

The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe says there is not enough German political oversight in the purchases…

The plaintiffs are a group of German academics, including a former leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), Bernd Lucke. They argue that the purchases violate the EU ban on one eurozone member subsidising the debts of another.

It is now up to the ECB to explain how its mass bond-buying programme is “proportionate”. The Bundesbank could pull out if it is not satisfied, in three months’ time – which would be a big blow to the eurozone.

Dis Is Our Disinformation

Not China’s.

China

“The Chinese are already threatening with reactions if the report comes out.”

Well, we certainly don’t want that in ze Europe.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief is facing questions over allegations that a report about Chinese disinformation over Covid-19 was watered down in response to pressure from Beijing…

The report was published on the EU’s monitoring website EU vs Disinfo on Friday. A survey of disinformation and misinformation about Covid-19 around the world, the report largely summarises and analyses publicly available information. It notes a “continued and coordinated push by some actors, including Chinese sources, to deflect any blame for the outbreak of the pandemic and highlighting bilateral assistance”, as well as “significant evidence of covert Chinese operations on social media.”

EU findet Propaganda aus Peking – China will Herkunft des Coronavirus verschleiern.

“A Bulwark No Longer”

For the last ten years, German elites successfully used EU membership to accrue political and economic benefits while offloading costs to Germany’s partners and avoiding the responsibilities and costs of European leadership. The irony is that the success of this strategy has now engendered the kind of divides inside Germany that it had forced upon most of the rest of the EU…

Germany

Germany is now entering a period of party system fragmentation, electoral volatility, unstable coalition governments and social polarization, all features of the politics of most other European countries.

The EU Needs More Money From Germany

That’s a shocker. Gee. I wonder why?

EU

It’s not like the arrogance and hubris of EU technocrats let the second biggest contributor to their budget walk away from their, well, generous redistribution system or anything. No, not at all. It’s… What is it, anyway? Is this still the Europe you want, Germany?

The U.K. was a strong proponent of free-trade, EU enlargement and pragmatic cooperation to tackle security threats. It opposed a “fortress Europe” approach, pushing for a competitive and open economy.

Britain also became in recent years the EU’s second-biggest net funder. EU officials say the U.K.’s departure will leave an estimated €84 billion ($93 billion) hole in the bloc’s next seven-year budget.

Agreeing on the size and makeup of that €1 trillion-plus budget will be the first major post-Brexit fight. Efforts to cut the amount of money spent on the EU’s newer members in Central and Eastern Europe risk further embittering the bloc’s east-west relations, already scarred by fights over migration and democratic norms.

We’re All Going To Die!

When the Brexit hits the fan, remember?

Brexit

It’s quite odd. Germans, notoriously nervous by nature, don’t seem terribly worried about Brexit these days at all. I guess there’s only so much you can worry about at any given time. Even if you’re a German.

Dead calm: Brexit not in top 10 of German businesses’ priorities – With five weeks to March 29th, Germans are worried – about everything but Brexit.

Commuters fear inner-city bans on diesel cars. Politicians are fighting over renovating – and digitising – German schools. Police are battling criminal Arab clans.

“I don’t know why Germany, all in all, is so relaxed about this.”

How Do You Reboot Something That Was Never Running In The First Place?

Germany: Left Party calls for EU ‘reboot’ at party convention.

Linke

Germany’s socialist party has presented a fundamental EU reform agenda at their convention in the western city of Bonn. Members decided against calling for the creation of a “European Republic” in the manifesto.

Now get this: They want to make the EU more “international” than it already is. International is why the EU isn’t working in the first place. Take their international EU border, for example. Their international currency (think Greece vs. Germany) really rocks, too. To name just a few structurally international shortcomings, I mean.

The one thing that could make something like the EU work is the one thing that all agree must never be mentioned, much less ever put into practice: A federation of sovereign, national states. No, the Eurocrats prefer, insist upon fixing and re-fixing and rebooting again and again and again…

“Our vision is anchored in a solidarity-based internationalism. Together with other left-wing parties, we stand for a fundamental change of policy in the European Union.”

Rich Germans Actually The Euro Zone Po Folks

As recently reported, rich Germans have suddenly and inexplicably become the poor men of Europe, relatively speaking.

Poor

According to the latest ECB Vermögensstudie (wealth study), the Cypriots, of all people, are among the richest citizens in the euro zone. Germans, on the other hand, have come in at last place.

Wait a second. Wasn’t there something recently about Cyprus striking a 10-billion euro bailout deal with the European Union? I must have got that wrong (or the Cypriots certainly got that right).

Ausgerechnet die Zyprer gehören zu den reichsten Bürgern der Euro-Zone, Deutschland steht am Ende der Rangliste.

 

This Still Doesn’t Beat Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

But it comes close.

Many euroskeptics clearly just don’t get it. Of course the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union is “beyond parody,” “laughable” and an “April Fool’s Joke.” That’s been the whole point of the thing for years now.

Hasn’t it?

In Britain, Friday’s award has been the subject of particularly heated commentary. Iain Martin, a columnist with the conservative Daily Telegraph dismissed the prize as “beyond parody.” He writes that the prize has been awarded prematurely because “we have no idea how the experiment to create an anti-democratic federation will end.” Besides, he writes, “daftest of all is the notion that the EU itself has kept the peace.” Instead, he writes, it was the Brits and the Americans who brought peace to the Continent.

Even the EU-friendly Economist columnist Charlemagne writes, “Hmmm,” questioning the timing of the award, given that the EU is currently threatened with a break-up.