Photo: Wikimedia Commons
There are tons of big dates ahead for the eurozone. But if you’re going to watch just one big event to pay attention to the European People’s Party annual Congress in Marseilles on December 7 and 8.That meeting—which directly precedes the next summit of EU leaders on December 9—will likely determine the party line on what (if anything) will be done to fix the euro.
The self-proclaimed “largest and most influential European-level political party of the centre-right,” the European People’s Party claims to have impacted political thinking in Europe for more than 30 years.
Its members include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Eurogroup President and PM of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Herman van Rompuy, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, and a host of other leaders and heads of state from all around the eurozone.
Essentially, that list comprises nearly all of Europe’s most important leaders. They’re scheduled to meet on December 8 to discuss their policy heading into the next summit.
The above list also comprises the leadership of two warring perspectives in Europe right now; Germany and France are at each other’s throats over the urgency of a radical solution to the eurozone crisis. France has endorsed more ECB action to quell an imminent bank crisis and stem rising borrowing costs for sovereigns. It also thinks eurobonds might be a good short-term idea. Germany, on the other hand, has staunchly opposed both these proposals, but is quickly losing support from the rest of Europe.
The EPP put out an ambiguous statement from Jean-Paul Gauzès MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on Economic and Monetary affairs, on these plans today:
We welcome the Commission’s response to the request made by the Parliament to put different options of Eurobonds/stability bonds on the table. The EPP Group will take a position on the different alternatives, with the aim of providing the EU economy with all of the necessary tools to ensure the stability and growth of our economies.
This suggests that the EPP is on the verge of making a party decision on the matter, in order to head into the summit with a united front. The current divide is more than just a rogue member state interfering with progress (remember Finland), it is an intra-party dispute that threatens to overturn the Party’s power base.
Thus, if any progress is going to come out of the summit on December 9, its terms will be negotiated behind closed doors on December 8.