Hollande wants a government for the Eurozone
Against the backdrop of the debt dispute with Greece, François Hollande has spoken out in favour of a Eurozone government. This would require its own budget and parliamentary control, he wrote in a column published on Sunday. The French president's proposal is aimed at curbing Berlin's influence, say a number of commentators. Others see in it the danger of increasing Europe's democracy deficit.
Fear of Berlin overtakes fear of markets
Hollande's calls for a Eurozone government are ultimately aimed at limiting Germany's power, the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza concludes: "The Eurozone has already intensified cooperation and launched a banking union to convince the capital markets that the euro isn't collapsing. This happened mainly due to pressure from international investors. … That's why it looks very much as if Hollande is now less afraid of the markets than of Berlin. If Eurozone integration continues apace, Germany's currently strong position will be weakened. … In Paris and Rome these days people are openly talking about fear of the Germans - regardless of whether that fear is justified or not."
Germany scuppers Eurozone government
Hollande's idea of a European avant-garde will remain a dream because it does not have Germany's support, fears Eric Bonse in his blog Lost in EUrope: "When it comes to the euro, Berlin relies on eternal German regulations instead of political, democratically legitimised decisions. And a new euro-budget is taboo anyway. On top of this Hollande has misjudged the situation. ... [He claims] in all seriousness, that the Eurozone 'is confirming its cohesion' in the Greek crisis. That German-French relations have worked. In truth [German Finance Minister Wolfgang] Schäuble and [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel were planning the Grexit without and against Hollande. France was only able to prevent it happening by swallowing Germany's brutal conditions. Berlin's next step may well be to try to drive Paris into a corner. Schäuble does not see France as the avant-garde but as a brake block that needs to be cast aside."
Hollande wants a club within a club
Hollande's proposal for a government of the Eurozone is a threat to Europe, the liberal-conservative daily Diário de Notícias complains: "That would only increase the already notorious democratic deficit in Europe based on the premise that six countries would be the lords and masters of the EU's political and economic course and could impose their will on all the others. … The existence of several clubs within the club would in practice mean the institutionalisation of the idea that there is an EU of creditors and an EU of borrowers. … Hollande's need to play the master at home and show that he calls the shots just as much as Merkel does, is a problem he must solve for himself. But that should not come at the expense of the collapse and disintegration of the EU project."
Euroscepticism could endanger budget union
Hollande's proposal can only be successful if the debate about further European integration is rid of discordant voices, the centre-left daily Le Monde admonishes: "[In the debt dispute] governments are acting under the pressure of public opinion driven by Euroscepticism and even Europhobia. François Hollande has quite rightly called for the creation of a budget union to complement the monetary union. … However a prerequisite for this is a minimum transfer of sovereignty to Brussels complemented by a minimum corresponding parliamentary representation of the Eurozone. This in turn requires action against the prevailing anti-Brussels discourse, which for the most part is based on nationalist regression or even intellectual laziness."