Guest post. Translated from the French by Tim Gupwell
By rejecting the quartet’s plan, (which has, moreover, already been watered-down) before the summit has even been held, the German deputy foreign affairs minister, Michael Link has placed himself in the avant-garde of all those opposing any attempt at a compromise. The “iron chancellor’s” hard-line approach has not changed: political union first, but not yet, and possibly the rest after that. There is a risk that the only thing left of the elaborate construction, already proposed only in its broadest outlines (even for that of the banking union component) is the transfer of Eurozone banking supervision to the ECB. There remains only one way out: an application of the German strategy which is based on a debt reduction of the public sector in priority.
For the summit Angela Merkel is rejecting all the ‘magic formulas’ and seeking to stick to the “strong message” sent out by the growth plan which was decided in Rome and which was immediately dismissed as insignificant. François Hollande will have to content himself with this to make a good impression. “It’s about finding lasting solutions, not quick and easy ones”, she added. “Structural reforms will be at the top of the agenda”, she proclaimed to the Bundestag, as if there still remained any doubts; even if it means making use of the quartet’s document for her own ends.