Renzi criticises German dominance in EU
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has criticised Germany's role in Europe as too dominant. "Europe has to serve all 28 countries, not just one," he said to the Financial Times on Monday. Renzi has taken up the fight against Germany's anachronistic austerity policy, some commentators write approvingly. Others dismiss his criticism as a cheap way of gaining votes.
Criticism of Germany justified
Renzi's comment that Berlin's dominant policies are responsible for the crises among its European neighbour states hits the nail on the head, the liberal daily Wiener Zeitung believes: "It is true that 'Europe must be there for all 28 members'. The statement by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble at the CDU party conference that the 'worst must improve', clearly illustrates the dilemma. Germany is the minimum standard for German European politicians.That is arrogant. ... If all EU countries functioned like Germany it would be the end of the EU model. 28 top export nations would flood the world with their goods, which would then resist them tooth and nail. Global economic chaos would be the result. So Renzi is right with his diagnosis. The correct medication would be a European economic policy and European financial compensation. The Germans don't like that idea, but that's exactly why their wings should be clipped."
Italy needs partners for its change of course
Italy approved its budget for 2016, which foresees a higher deficit than planned. Rome should not start the battle against the austerity policy on its own, the liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore warns: "There are good reasons for an expansive budget manoeuvre. So it would be calamitous if come spring Europe were to force us to correct the budget plan and subject it to the dictates of an anachronistic austerity policy. The European offensive launched by our prime minister must be seen in this context. … One can debate endlessly about whether national interests are best pushed through with painstaking discussions or by pounding the table with your fist. In both cases the main thing is to be able to count on credible alliances. … We must assume, or at least hope, that Renzi forged such alliances before he launched his offensive."
In the end everyone want's Germany's help
Criticising Germany's role in the EU is just a cheap ploy for winning votes nowadays, writes the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "On top of the once again spreading conviction that Berlin's 'austerity policy' is evil, we now regularly hear claims that Germany is using it to subjugate its European partners. This traditional myth is now mobilising voters from Spain to Greece. Spain will 'never become a German appendage', announced Podemos leader Iglesias after the election. The sovereignty of his party was a top priority, he proclaimed. … In the end, however, they all automatically assume that once national sovereignty has been restored they will be able to rely on European solidarity, or in other words on the redistribution of wealth in every conceivable form. And then too, all eyes will once again be trained on Europe."