Thursday, June 7, 2012


Angela Merkel has answered the call for "growth" from François Hollande, and her answer is "Nein!" Of course she also has to persuade her own opposition--SPD and Greens--that this is the correct answer, or Germany won't ratify its own fiscal pact. The SPD has decided to put the question to a party referendum. Unfortunately for Hollande, what this signifies is that there is considerable opposition within the SPD to accepting the French proposal, whose contours remain quite vague. Germany's policies have not worked out too badly for German workers--at least for the ones who are employed, as most SPD members are--so there is no groundswell of worker sentiment for greater European solidarity. The SPD leadership may be sympathetic to Hollande's position, but the leadership is not prepared to stick its neck out if the rank-and-file are prepared to lop off its head.

In short, Hollande had better have a plan B. Having said that he opposes the fiscal (Merkozy) pact as it stands, he may find himself boxed in when it is ultimately approved by Germany, as it likely will be.

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