Friday, June 03, 2005

More on Germany's re-aligning role in the EU

An article in the FT entitled Merkel calls for re-think on Turkey’s EU membership might also have been called “the shape of things to come” – it reinforces my view (see - Germany, coquettes and EU relationships) that Germany is likely to re-align itself with Central Europe in the coming years, especially if, as seems likely at present, a CDU led coalition takes power in Germany after the coming elections.

The above linked FT articles reports that:

An FDP politician, possibly parliamentary leader Wolfgang Gerhardt, would be expected to become foreign minister under a CDU-led coalition government.

Friedbert Pflüger, CDU parliamentary foreign affairs spokesman, ...... said EU integration “would remain a core pillar” of German foreign policy, but said that Berlin's ties with Paris should be refocused away from being a “dominant force” within the bloc, towards a “leadership role based of full consultation with other EU members”.

A CDU-led government would also focus on improving ties with Washington, following strained relations over the Iraq war. “The current government has let the transatlantic relationship deteriorate badly,” Mr Gerhardt told the FT Deutschland

In contrast, relations with Russia, defined by Mr Schröder's close friendship with Russian president Vladimir Putin, would be expected to cool, due to concerns over alleged authoritarian tendencies in the Russian government. “We cannot simply keep quiet about [such] problems” in Russia, said Wolfgang Schäuble, the CDU's foreign policy chief. Mrs Merkel is in private highly critical of developments in Moscow, aides added.
Germany leading the EU with smaller states of Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Czech Republic, the Baltic states, Slovakia, and of course Austria makes far more sense than the current Franco-German EU core. France and Germany have always looked the "odd couple" and were thrown together largely because of the cold war division in Europe that kept much of "old" Europe locked behind the Iron Curtain. The attitude on Russia dovetails well with that of those new EU member states that once found themselves on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain too.