Vetoes should no longer be allowed. Smaller countries should not be able to block the will of the ‘majority’. And the biggest countries, with the largest financial contributions, should be the ones that get to dictate policy. Ever since German re-unification made the country by far the largest in the bloc, there has been a creeping German take-over of the European Union. But with the British no longer around to hold that back, it is starting to accelerate.
We had the clearest indication of that yet with a demand today for national vetoes to be ended. The German foreign minister Heiko Maas told a meeting of German ambassadors that ‘we can’t let ourselves be held hostage by the people who hobble European foreign policy with their vetoes.’ According to Maas, if countries are allowed to stop the EU taking a decision ‘then sooner or later you are risking the cohesion of Europe. The veto has to go, even if that means we can be out-voted.’
At the moment, it appears to be the Hungarians who have especially irritated Germany’s foreign minister. The increasingly erratic government of Viktor Orban has blocked EU calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine, refused to ratify a trade agreement with the Caribbean, and blocked criticism of China’s latest clampdown in Hong Kong. Of course, it is a little odd for the Germans to be making a big deal about foreign policy. Plenty of people argue, perfectly correctly as it happens, that the country’s determination to make itself completely dependent on energy from Vladimir Putin’s Russia, while its exporters are equally dependent on President Xi’s China, means it is not really in a position to lecture anyone.