Fiscal Compact: Germany bemoans irritating Irish referendum
29 February 2012
Der Spiegel, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit
In Germany, the country that has had to answer the most requests for financial aid in the debt crisis, plans to hold another referendum in Ireland have been the subject of much comment in the press. “The Irish again!” announces Spiegel-Online. The news website imagines the reaction in in the Berlin Chancellery, where Angela Merkel must be worried by the impact this development will have on decisions in Brussels, and adds –
The new architecture of the euro is threatened by a birth defect. In the end, perhaps only 16 states will be shackled to the austerity drive Germany wants to see.
Of course, Berlin would have preferred to avoid a popular vote on Europe in Ireland, writes Süddeutsche Zeitung –
... but this time around, the outcome will have a much greater impact on Ireland than it will on the euro community. […] The Irish should accept that the [fiscal] pact is in their national interest. If not we will not be able to help them.
According to Eurobarometer, the Irish are the most europhile population in the union. But their love of the EU is only equalled by their rejection of England: a way of underlining the fact that they are not British. The country will have to live with a decision that will mark the self image of an entire generation. Either they will become fully fledged Europeans and give up on an exceptional status to the west of the British Isles, or they will opt for an intermediate status like their British neighbours – which will mean that they will have more in common with the Anglo-Saxons, the Scots and the Welsh.