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Judges helpless – Failed government outed

Since the judges of the Federal Constitutional Court decided that the European Court of Justice should decide whether the ludicrous programme of the head of the ECB Mario Draghi (OMT Programme), which will support the Euro up to the point of its final crash, is compatible with the German Constitution or not, the Karlsruhe judges have caught the Federal Government red-handed.

On the one hand, this decision shows that the court sees itself subject to or disempowered by decisions at the Euro zone level, and it has no significance whether a decision on the rescue of the Euro is compatible with any national law (as already in the case of the ESM/Fiscal Pact) or not, and on the other hand, this non-verdict shows that the pro-Europe Merkel government could lose face quicker than it would like to.

For Merkel, it is her life’s work which is at stake. The entry in the history books of politics is more in danger of becoming a debacle rather than an honour. The events of the downward spiral of the Euro weigh heavily: At the end of March 2014, decisions are expected on the legality of the OMT Programme and the ESM. On 23rd April 2014, the EU will present the first official figures on the economic situation. On 23rd May 2014, the European elections will be held.

The Federal Constitutional Court had to accept much scolding for its verdict, but this was fundamentally a good outcome, because it says: For political reasons, there can be no other verdict than the compatibility of the OMT Programme with the German Constitution. The snooty reaction against putting everything into the hands of the European judges must have cost Mrs. Merkel a great deal, because this makes it clear that the decision on the ESM/Fiscal Pact, which Merkel wanted above all, was no politically independent verdict, but rather a political construct, which was only possible, in contravention of the Constitution, because the Euro would otherwise have crashed. The Karlsruhe judges bent to the will of the Euro fanatics and nodded through the ESM/Fiscal Pact with a limitation which could easily be circumvented. The final verdict is still expected, but the decision on the OMT Programme (including limitation) shows that neither the ESM nor the OMT are unconstitutional in political terms, even though they are in real terms.

Merkel must disseminate a good mood throughout the country until 23rd May 2014, the date of the European elections, so that the Germans say “Yes” to Euro-Europe. The European question had already become an acid test for Chancellor Kohl, who went on to lose the Bundestag election on 27th September 1998. Merkel must manage it so that Germany sticks to the project “United States of Europe”, because her whole reputation depends on it.

For years the Chancellor has worked for Europe. The decline of the Euro could have permitted nothing less. Nor German national bankruptcy, which has been delayed since 2007. The quiet transition of Germany into the United States of Europe was an acceptable party-political solution, which brought with it breaches of the law, lies and misinformation of the people, a price which Merkel was quite prepared to pay.

In Merkel’s sense of “wanting to bear responsibility for Europe” (although wanting to do it does not mean actually doing it), the German government bent the law to the extent deemed necessary. Of course it was incompatible with the Constitution, but anyone who looks askance at a European constitution and the post of head of government in Europe can hardly be averse to the breach of a few basic laws. And now Merkel has the problem that the recalcitrant and helpless Karlsruhe judges and their clever solution are bringing all this effort to nought. Refusal has after all always been the most effective means of resistance.

In the hue and cry over the policy for Germany, Merkel must change direction. She is well aware of the resistance to the Euro, and the election result of the “Alternative for Germany” at the last Bundestag election must have been indicative enough, along with the 30% of non-voters. Merkel’s seat is rocking precariously, not least because government officials seem to be able to do nothing in times when everyone has to save, and pension contributions are increasing. In order to keep her seat from tipping, Merkel is now returning to the national stage. Unsuitable ministers are being dismissed. So that the people see how caring Angela Merkel can be, negotiations are being held with representatives of the struggle for freedom in the Ukraine, a war on the doorstep of the European community, which always feels itself addressed as a whole.

The Euro-Europe of Angela Merkel and her consorts is therefore at an end. In order to conceal how much it has failed, Europe has disappeared from the headlines. Only Greece will not keep quiet. The country needs money. Quickly and as smoothly as possible, because otherwise the beautiful ideas of a common Europe of the future will disappear into thin air. The bill for tying an actually well-functioning state system to an ailing currency; the bill for Greece, like Germany, of reducing its national debt by means of the Euro (as other Euro countries have also done), and having the citizens pay for the delaying of insolvency and the support of the bankrupt countries.

In December 2013, a delegation of the troika (IMF, ECB, EU Commission) travelled to Greece in order to establish findings regarding a third aid package, because the country’s banks are still in the red. For 2014, experts reckon on growth of 0.6%, while in 2015 the economy could strengthen by 0.9%, but Greece’s government only announced an excess in the primary budget for the past year – i.e. without servicing the interest burden – of € 1.5 billion. The deficit is therefore too high. The Greeks consequently received no aid from private creditors, and must continue to be supported. The Greek government could not announce any reform measures; the delegation departed without any agreement. Without the goodwill of the troika, no more money will go to Greece, and the government will have to resort to the capital market, in order to survive until the next elections. These threaten to become a tragedy. The head of the coalition of the radical Left, Alexis Tsipras, has said that the continued existence of Greece depends on this. His Syriza party is experiencing support; the Grand Coalition of Christian and Social Democrats could founder on the rocks of the European election. The situation is similar for Angela Merkel, who is feeling the breath of her opponents on her neck. If she gives her agreement to the 3rd aid package before the election, she must be afraid that the anti-Euro party “Alternative for Germany” will win more votes. We must wait and see.

The question is why Angela Merkel assumes that there could still be such a stupid voter who believes that the delayed aid package will not be nodded through immediately following the European election? Following the experiences of the year 2010, when the Chancellor was anxious about the results of the election in Nordrhein-Westfalen, she delayed the 2nd aid package. This tactic failed. The Union lost the Landtag election and Greece received money from Europe, together with a financing package and waiver of debt by private creditors. So it will be again, whether before or after the election on 23rd May 2014.

Merkel will say little in the coming days, and hope somehow to sit out the chaos of the Grand Coalition and the end of the crisis, but in vain. The crisis is approaching its end, but this will not bring about a “United States of Europe”. The helplessness of its judges ultimately stands also for the helplessness of the government. Mrs. Merkel will be robbed of her dreams with this result of a Grand Coalition, which in any event was nothing more than political manoeuvring, and the Germans will have to foot the bill for trusting Mrs. Merkel and her unconstitutional policy, which offers only confusion, even though it promised much else.
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