The EU may officially be called the European Union but it is far from unified right now. As the EU and those countries in the Eurozone struggle to combat rising debts each country is looking after its own backyard. That is as it should be. It is no good being full of "community" spirit unless all participants are acting in the same way.
For a while now France and Germany have appeared to be the leaders of the pack, as far as the Eurozone goes. Now if German leader Angela Merkel has her way it will be Germany leading the rest of Europe. Today, November 18, 2011, Merkel and UK Prime Minister David Cameron met and it is fair to say that all was not well.
Currently the UK is one of the non eurozone EU countries. Most people in the UK sleep better at night knowing that. The Euro has nose dived in value in recent years and is not a good prospect.
Germany and France are among the Eurozone countries who now have the Euro as their currency. It is easy to understand why these Eurozone countries want to lead as far as currency decisions go in Europe. However the non Eurozone countries may still be left footing some of the euro bills unless they stand up for their rights.
Not an easy situation to resolve. Strong and powerful leaders are necessary but are hardly liable to give way easily. And something will probably have to give.
When Merkel and Cameron met today high on the agenda was a proposed European financial transactions tax. Former Tory leader John Major was quick to pour scorn on this tax. It has been called a Franco-German plan which will hit the city of London slap bang.
Earlier this week David Cameron made his Euro scepticism plain. This tax, according to Major, would increase euro scepticism in the UK. A "Tobin" or "Robin Hood Tax" would perhaps please the people of the UK but not the money men and women nor the Conservative party.
In an interview John Major told the media that, "The proposal at the moment for a financial transaction tax is a heat-seeking missile proposed in continental Europe aimed at the City of London. If there were such a tax about 80%, 85% of the yield would come from the City of London. Now it is not surprising that the British are upset, if we were proposing [taxes] on luxuries like wine I dare say some of our continental partners would think we were being rather unfair to them. Well that's the position for us. We can't accept a financial transaction tax. I don't think we will have to, but the proposal adds to Euro scepticism and yet in many ways it's a paper tiger."
Currently also up for debate is just who will be included. At this time only the members of the Eurozone will be included. However if Angela Merkel has her way all EU countries could be included.
One of Cameron's main points is that if such a tax were global it would be different. If it only comes into force in the EU he claims it will, "drive transactions to jurisdictions where it would not be applied". UK Chancellor George Osborne has expressed concerns that such a tax would drive trade markets to the US and Asia.
Cameron and Merkel were also meeting to discuss German plans to revise the Lisbon treaty in order to provide a legal basis for tough new fiscal rules for the eurozone.
Both the leaders publicists have been quick to claim that Merkel and Cameron enjoy a warm working relationship and that today's talks were constructive. UK people will only agree when it is proven that Cameron is working for the UK people and not the City of London nor the EU.
Update:With revelations that the Irish budget had been perused in the German government before any other EU countries had a glimpse people are concrned at the power Germany is wielding right now.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog