Rossa points us to the Guardian article on “why Germany may well leave the EU ‘cos her economy is not only contracting, she’s subsidising the ClubMeds”.
Now I’m highly suspicious of anything in the Grauniad by default, especially something that purports to quote statistics and the comments thread immediately dropped into a discussion of Marxism, as one would expect at a leftwing rag. However, the article made the points:
Total exports are equivalent to around 43% of Germany’s GDP and the eurozone accounts for less than 37% of total exports, according to recently revised figures. That means that exports to the eurozone nominally account for roughly 15% of German GDP. This share will fall further. In reality, however, the contribution of the eurozone to the German economy is even smaller. The reason for this is simple: the eurozone countries do not pay for most imports from Germany; most of Germany’s current account surplus is financed by the Bundesbank.
Between 1998 and 2011, German exports grew by over 115%. Export growth, however, did not translate into economic growth. According to Eurostat, during 1998-2011 Germany grew at an average annual rate of close to 1.4%, compared to around 1.5% for France, 1.8% for the Netherlands, 2.7% for Sweden, 2% for Britain, and average growth of 1.7 % for the EU as whole. Germany also lagged significantly behind the United States which achieved over 2%. Only Japan, Italy, Portugal and, according to some calculations, Denmark performed worse than Germany.
While German industry has enjoyed record export and profit growth, ordinary Germans have not had much economic joy over the past 13 years. As Charles Dumas of Lombard Street Research has demonstrated, real personal disposable income per capita rose by just over 7% from 1998 to 2011, compared to growth of 13% for Spain and around or over 18% for Britain, France and the US. German income growth lagged behind almost all OECD countries; only Italy and Japan performed worse. Germany today is a poorer country compared to many EU members than it was in 1998.
A great shock to me was that the above turned out to be reasonable accurate. Back in October, the Telegraph ran the same story:
Germany has supplied BMWs to southern Europe and they have given it IOUs in return. Will those IOUs ever be honoured? That is the problem with trying to grow through unbalanced trade. In the end, your trade partners need something to pay you with. Not that the German economy has been a stonking success during the euro’s existence.
Its average growth rate has been only 1.4pc, below the UK’s – and below Spain’s and Ireland’s. The explanation is clear. Whereas consumer spending has grown by about 30pc in America and the UK, in Germany it has grown by only 10pc. The reason is that over the last 13 years, German workers’ average real incomes have fallen by 4pc.
So why wouldn’t Germany leave? The answer is for political reasons. It’s only through the backdoor mechanism of the EU project that Germany realizes its age old ambition, the ambition of the old dirty money in Bavaria to achieve what the Kaiser and Hitler couldn’t. As this is Germany’s aim and as the dirty money runs to trillions, then some loss as a result of the IOUs are hardly going to dissuade it. And Merkel is very much a creature of the Bertelsmanns and other families.
This snippet is Illuminating:
In any case, Bertelsmann can be sure that Mr. Obama will read its “little aide, its little white book” very carefully. For — as Ms. Heuser failed to disclose and as was not mentioned either in an op-ed on Obama that she published in the Washington Post in July — the Bertelsmann Corporation happens to be the president-elect’s principal source of income. It was Bertelsmann, namely, that agreed to pay Obama a reported $1.9 million in advances for a three-book deal that the then-senator-elect signed with its fully owned American subsidiary, the Random House publishing group, in December 2004.
The “synergies” between Bertelsmann and various agencies of the German government are numerous and obvious: so much so that Bertelsmann has taken on the trappings of a veritable state within the state. Consider only that Bertelsmann’s “10th International Forum” in 2006 was held at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Participants included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, then French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. [Pajamas]
Edward Spalton refers to Germany’s “natural hinterland” and any view of German Foreign Policy shows it to be continually interested in extending its role, not diminishing it. Horst Teubert, Editor Informationen zur deutschen Aussenpolitik, goes into more detail in his “Germany’s Bid for Great Power Status through the EU.”
Edward Spalton makes reference to Germany’s mindset which is always expansionary and inclusive, e.g. the Holy Roman Empire and nothing has occurred to change its stance. Bavaria is still the centre of Illuminism and many old families are there and in Italy. Finally, Lord Stoddart of Swindon opined:
“This is a plot by people who want to abolish nation states and create a United States of Europe,” he said. “The whole thing is barmy. These people are determined to achieve their final objective. The only hope for Britain is to leave the EU and become an independent nation.”
Current talk of an in/out referendum here is therefore of vital interest to the Bertelsmanns and if they hold the power over the US President as suggested above, then one would imagine the US urging the UK to stay in the EU.