The stereotype about the Germans in this crisis is that they’ve been reluctant to embrace a fiscal union for Europe.Actually it’s kind of the opposite. They’ve been pretty consistent in their willingness for more shared fiscal goals or “More Europe” (as Angela Merkel has put it) so long as those steps come with measures that prevent freeloading, and so long as the poorer countries are willing to give up some sovereignty.
German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble is charging ahead with an aggressive “master plan” as Der Spiegel calls it to bring more fiscal federation to the Eurozone.
His big idea? The establishment of a currency commissioner, with wide ranging power of countries budgets, with the ability to veto national budgets. How spending goals are achieved are still to be a national issue, but the goals would go all the way up to Brussels.
Another big idea of his is a much more strengthened and democratic European parliament.
As Der Spiegel notes, the ideas aren’t necessarily new, but it’s interesting that someone of his stature is pursuing them aggressively.
Unfortunately, the ideas still seem more about deficit targets and austerity and so on, rather than actual transfers (which is what will be needed). Also, this will cause howls from people worried about democratic legitimacy.