James Forsyth

Europe is being strangled by the Franco-German alliance

Europe is being strangled by the Franco-German alliance
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David Cameron’s complaints at last night’s EU meeting about the lack of a growth agenda have, in part, been addressed by the new draft conclusions. Cameron — who was supported by the Dutch, Italians and Spanish — seems to have secured promises on the completion of the single market, deregulation and the services directive in the summit’s draft conclusions. This isn't going to turn around the European economy. But it is a step in the right direction and a small, but possibly significant, victory for the PM.


I understand from sources in Brussels that there has been frustration with the extent to which the conclusions presented last night simply echoed the views of the Germans and the French. They ignored pretty much completely the growth agenda that 12 countries had set out in a pre-summit letter.


Part of Europe’s problem at the moment is that Franco-German alliance is strangling the economy. German austerity is being combined with French opposition to both deregulation and the extension of the single market. This combination is toxic for growth.