David Blackburn

The euro crisis is an opportunity for Cameron

The euro crisis is an opportunity for Cameron
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Gerard Baker has written the cover piece for this week’s magazine and it’s a must read. In it, he explains why ‘closer fiscal union’, as Rompuy terms it, is not to Germany’s advantage:

‘Any attempted fiscal union might well yield to Germany the biggest single vote in how much to raise in taxes and how to spend it. But it could still be outvoted by an alliance of smaller countries. Such a set-up would become an institutionalised mechanism by which German taxes will be siphoned off permanently to weaker European states.

The nightmare for Germans is that an unholy alliance of Spanish, Greeks, Italians and Portuguese will be able to tell the good people of Bavaria exactly how much of their taxes they can spend in Bavaria and how much they must transfer to their needy cousins down south. Instead of a union in which the disciplined Germans call the tune, the system entrenches the bailout culture Berlin has insisted could never be a part of the single currency.’

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final act

The German quandary mirrors Britain’s precisely - though their exposure is greater. Angela Merkel’s weak government faces opposition from resurgent German euroscepticism as the solutions to this crisis become ever more unpalatable to the Volk. Merkel could either block integration or cripple the euro scheme, which amounts to the same thing. From what I hear, the FCO is ‘nudging’ Berlin.