Germany 'losing sight of EU common good'


Germany may be losing sight of the European common good, putting at risk the EU's credibility with member states and citizens, Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said today.

Mr Juncker said he was not worried about the survival of the euro or the European Union but about the future development of the region. "I am however concerned that in Germany, the federal (government) and local authorities are slowly losing sight of the European common good," he said in an interview with Germany's Rheinischer Merkur.

Making speedy decisions in the European Council may be more efficient than passing through every stage of the EU decision-making process but would mean the EU could lose credibility with member states and their citizens.

"One day not all member states, and therefore not the majority of the citizens, will feel at home in the European Union because it will become an abstract European construction for them," Mr Juncker was quoted as saying.

Last month Germany and France struck an agreement on changes to the EU's Lisbon treaty to create a permanent system for handling future meltdowns like the Greek debt crisis.

The deal between chancellor Angela Merkel and president Nicolas Sarkozy trumped EU finance minister talks at the same time and faced opposition from many EU members.

However, Germany and France then managed to get the European Council of heads of government to sign off on the agreement.

German proposals for private investors to take a hit in future euro zone debt crises have spooked debt and currency markets, ramping up borrowing costs for peripheral euro states.

Highlighting the fault-lines across Europe, Spain's economy minister has urged Germany to stop pushing its idea of a permanent euro crisis mechanism. Ireland has also complained about the proposal aggravating its problems.