By Richard Schütze
During the US presidential campaign, Europe played a minor role only, and not as an example but as a bugbear. Even the democrat Barack Obama did not refer to the European example when stating the defense of his social as well as tax policy. The old continent, which many European politicians exemplary commend to as “social Europe” and that from the point of view of socialists, social democrats and parts of the Green movement should be further expanded, is not considered to be a social and welfare state oasis. To the essence of Europe in the matter of social and tax equity, health care and pension plan or even securing one’s livelihood, the world will not be recovered. It takes barely notice of it. Because Europe is out.
Europe is perceived as a problem area which signifies a synonym for government debt alcoholism and currency chaos, bureaucracy, inefficient administration, lack of economic dynamic, insufficient will of performance, too little creativity, over-regulation, military weakness, overaging and even democratic deficits. A seemingly dying continent over all.
This image has to be laid on the blame of the Europeans and their institutions. The government debt and Euro crisis drifts away unbridled and solely Germany seems to be a solid rock unconstrained by imminent recession and inflation. But step by step the Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble is brought to his knees against the demands and requests of the Romance and the South-European partners. Apparently Berlin feels impelled to back down now and then. There is no concept. From the outside this appears as an agonizing infirmity with dying in installments. Once again, the British uncouple themselves from the European mother ship and feel more Anglo-American than continental rooted and committed.
Meanwhile, Brussels’ big head continues to grow assiduously. Constantly 27 commissioners of the EU member states give birth to new guidelines. A few days ago, the ambitious justice commissioner Viviane Reding was given commission’s consent to a template of such a guideline. The commission no longer wanted to get in the way of the slightly nerving colleague. Commission President José Manuel Barroso and his colleagues could be certain that the implementation of the so-called 40 percent rate which was enforced by Reding in the supervisory boards of large companies would fail the Council of Ministers’ approval due to the attitude of the Federal Government of Germany. Promptly Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Minister of Family Affairs Kristina Schröder have signalized that due to legal problems the developed solution of Minister Schröder for companies to impose its own voluntarily flexi-rate for supervisory boards and executive boards could have a chance. Even the European Court of Justice insists on unisex job postings whose avoidance is qualified as illegal discrimination.
Whereas there is no way on national level, it is being tried to bring off social changes by a devious route across Europe. Newest example is the embarrassing attempt of questioning the foreign minister of Malta Tonio Borg during a so-called formal hearing. Borg as the Maltese candidate for the EU Health Commission is reproached by homophobe statements. Once again this is about implementing homosexual marriage as an equivalent to original marriage with legal privileging. With regard to the case of the Italian politician Rocco Buttiglione in 2004 who was rejected due to his Christian attitude, one seems to have learned and let Borg get through with it.
Basically it has to do with subsidiarity, variety, freedom of expression, believe and conscience. These are the essentials that are supposed to make the European community of states more attractive as cultural diversity. But the European institutions continue to spin further towards the crises of legitimation. Already terms like Eurocracy as a synonym for bureaucracy and Eurosklerosis as a symbol for the inability to act and the military weakness due to Eurocrature as a mixture of centralized democratism are becoming popular. This for example regards to the rescue of the euro as well as a dictatorial mainstream in the sense of unrelenting dogmatics of an increasing one-dimensional political correctness. Obviously this is also revealed to the multiple single-sided defined Gender Mainstreaming Policy which is pushed to the European provinces through the channels of Brussels.
Against this, more resistance is formed; not only in Bavaria -which almost naturally sees itself as a unique region with exemplary performances-, and is perceived as such also by others. Who accomplishes much and is socially capable at the same time, which means is also generating significant solidary contributions, feels put-upon, when one thinks that it can be treated like an indulgent fool. Europe has to take its various cultures into consideration even more.
Nevertheless for most who still stand outside, the weakening Europe is attractive. Already next summer, Croatia wants and is to become a member of the European Union even though some politicians like the presiding officer of the German parliament Norbert Lammert would like to put a stop to it. If the Turkish interest in becoming a member in the EU is actually meant seriously and virulently may, however, be doubted with confident. By all means, Prime Minister Recep Erdogan suits it well to insist on an early membership in a publically energetic way and to also make the USA discharge its duty. This way he can control the military at home and force back its power.
As the fish rots from the head down, it is about time for the EU bureaucrats in Brussels to also enact reforms for themselves and not only for the Greeks and Italians. Concerning their rewarding and unique tax privileging, the EU officials truly live in the land of Cockaigne. (http://www.fnp.de/fnp/nachrichten/kommentare/weirich-am-freitag-schluss-mit-schlaraffia_rmn01.c.10250225.de.html). The excessive web of benefits, aids and perks of all kinds finally to be made more transparent and then the stairs need to be swept down from the top.
Nevertheless for Germany, Europe is at least equally important as Germany for Europe.
Germany will be depended on a very close relationship to the USA for a while more to not to become isolated in its own continent.
Founder Richard Schütze Consult GmbH in Berlin; training and consulting in communication and public relations as well as public affairs, lobbying and political advice. Lecturer Freie Universität Berlin and Axel Springer School of Journalists. Publicist and Attorney.