Friday, May 11, 2012

The German Bundestag 
has delayed its vote on 
ratification of  the EU 
Austerity Treaty until 
July next in another 
setback for Chancellor 
Angela Merkel's plans 
to push through the Treaty 
despite mounting opposition 
across Europe and political 
woes for her Coalition 
Government in recent 
state elections.


Merkel wanted the vote to take place on May 25, but with an EU Council of Ministers meeting
scheduled for May 23 to facilitate new French President Francois Hollande's attendance with his proposals for modifications in the Treaty to allow for pan-European growth stimulus measures instead of the brutal austerity programmes previously imposed by the Merkel-Sarkozy alliance, the Opposition parties in the Bundestag have refused to cooperate and forced a delay on the vote. Merkel's Coalition Government with the Free Democrats(FDP)
doesn't have the necessary two-thirds majority to get the Treaty through parliament so the vote will not now be taken until at least mid July.
Both Social Democrats and Greens, whose support in the German parliament is required for the two-thirds majority needed to approve the Treaty, insisted on further concessions on Thursday when the legislation was presented for a first reading, and called for the vote to be delayed. Germany could not continue to live as “an island of the blessed” surrounded by the rest of the EU in recession or zero growth, said Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the SPD’s parliamentary leader:

“We know that the red figures (sovereign debt) of others today are our problem tomorrow,” he said. “We cannot allow the situation for everyone else in Europe to get worse while we are doing alright".

Media Spin

Irish media today incorrectly reported that Merkel had initiated the delay herself whereas it was a result of her political weakness and growing isolation in Europe as the Continent erupts in a growing revolt against the right-wing austerity agendas. Her Coalition lost control of the state government of Schleswig-Holstein last Sunday and next Sunday, she faces another test in the state elections in North-Rhine Westphalia, Federal Germany's most populous state.

The snap poll - Germany's third regional vote in eight weeks - sees Merkel's conservatives trying to oust the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) and coalition partners, the Greens/Alliance 90. Polls show the SPD leading the race with about 38% compared to just over 30% for Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) their worst poll ratings this year. SPD state premier Hannelore Kraft, is facing off against Merkel's Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, and hopes to obtain an increased majority compared with the result of the last election  two years ago.The election was called when Kraft failed to have her budget passed in the regional parliament.

The only good news for Merkel was that her Federal Coalition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP) have managed to crawl up to 6% in the populous state of 18,000.000, just enough to be able to take seats in the parliament. If Merkel loses again in NRW she will have less seats in the Bundesrat, the Upper House of the German parliament, and therefore, even more difficulty in getting a two-thirds majority for her Austerity Treaty in the July vote, that is if the Treaty still exists by then..

FearFeasa Mac Léinn
 Áth Cliath/DUBLIN, 11 BEALTAINE/MAY, 2012.

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