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3-Dec-11 World View — Europe Recoils as Germany Takes Charge


This morning’s key headlines from

* Europe recoils as Germany takes charge

* Record turnout in Egypt’s elections

* Pakistan changes rules of engagement versus U.S. forces

Europe recoils as Germany takes charge

Angela Merkel, giving her 'one Europe' speech to the Bundestag on Friday (AP)
Angela Merkel, giving her ‘one Europe’ speech to the Bundestag on Friday (AP)

Let’s start with this news story from the Guardian:

Angela Merkel demanded tougher control over the tax-and-spend policies of Germany’s single-currency partners at the start of a make-or-break five days for the euro.

Seeking to halt the single currency’s drift towards collapse, the German chancellor finally took decisive action to calm the financial markets when she said it was time to stop talking about a fiscal union and start creating one. Merkel said, however, that negotiations to secure greater centralized control over the budgets of the 17 members of the eurozone could not be rushed and would involve a risky renegotiation of the Lisbon treaty.

Decisive action???? She gave a FRIGGIN’ SPEECH! Since when is giving a speech “decisive action,” especially when it’s going to take “years” for anything to get done?

Here’s a story from Mirror:

Britain faced being sidelined yesterday as German Chancellor Angela Merkel set out plans for a new “euroland.”

She will use a summit next week to demand a “fiscal union” so all 17 eurozone countries are bound by the same budgetary rules. A new treaty, forcing governments in the single currency to give up tax and spending powers, was essential to rescue the eurozone, she said.

But the power-grab by France and Germany may create a two-tier European Union and see Britain – not in the single currency – lose its place at the top table.

These fears of a Berlin takeover of Europe, 73 years after the Anschluss, are being widely expressed in Europe.

Here’s a more sober news story from the Independent:

Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted yesterday that the euro could only be saved by changes in the EU treaty to impose legally enforceable budget discipline on countries using the single currency.

Her words, in a landmark speech to the Bundestag, implied exactly the kind of federalist solution, over-riding national sovereignty, which was rejected the day before by President Nicolas Sarkozy. Efforts will be made to resolve the apparent gulf between the two leaders when they meet in Paris on Monday to agree draft treaty changes to place before a critical EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

So it looks like Merkel and Sarkozy have only a few days left to bridge their differences so that they can complete the Franco-German takeover of Europe and thus save the euro. It’s just one more in a seemingly endless supply of bizarre days.

Record turnout in Egypt’s elections

Egypt’s people were ebullient this week as they surged to the polls for the first free elections in decades. 62% of eligible voters took part in the first round of parliamentary elections, with turnout “the highest since the time of pharaohs.” Official results have yet been announced, but leaks indicate that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) took 40% of the votes. Following closely behind is the conservative Salafi Al-Nour Party, with about 30% of the votes, raising concerns in the West of an Islamist government. Al-Ahram and Bloomberg

Pakistan changes rules of engagement versus U.S. forces

Relations between Pakistan and the U.S. continued to deteriorate following the recent attack by NATO forces that inadvertently killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in the tribal regions. Pakistan officials are saying that the attack was intentional and are denying the U.S. version of the story that the outcome was inadvertent. On Friday, Pakistan’s army changed the rules of engagement so that Pakistan’s commanders in the wild Afghan border region can return fire if under attack without waiting for permission. This policy change could have the unintended consequence of U.S. and Pakistan forces firing at each other. Reuters


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