German-French conflicts deadlock European Union summit

Published on WSWS, by Peter Schwarz, October 22, 2011.

The much heralded European Union summit this weekend will not take any decisions to stabilize the euro due to unresolved differences between Germany and France. Instead, the 17 heads of state and government of the euro zone plan to reassemble in Brussels next Wednesday to decide on a package of measures.  

The EU summit, originally scheduled for last weekend, was supposed to provide a comprehensive response to the European debt and banking crisis and calm stock exchanges and financial markets, which have been fluctuating wildly for months. Two weeks ago, however, the summit was postponed at short notice following a meeting in Berlin between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

At that meeting Merkel and Sarkozy had, with much fanfare, announced a mutual agreement and promised to submit a “compelling and complete package” to solve the crisis by the end of the month. Since then, however, it has become clear that the differences are far deeper than officially admitted … //

… Should the summit fail to reach any agreement at the weekend, a violent reaction on stock exchanges and financial markets is expected on Monday. If a compromise is reached, it will inevitably, like the decisions of numerous previous summits, only inaugurate the next stage of the crisis.

The profound divisions between Germany and France indicate the advanced level of decay of the European Union. Ever since the 1957 Treaty of Rome, these two countries have formed the backbone of the EU and the entire project of European integration. The national antagonisms that dominated the continent until the middle of the last century are erupting once again.

The debt issue is only the trigger for the present crisis. Measured against gross domestic product, the debt of the euro zone (85 percent) is less than that of the US (94 percent) and Japan (220 percent). But the rivalry between European nation states and the subordination of their governments to the dictates of finance capital rule out any progressive resolution of the crisis. (full text).

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