BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 15:  In this handout photo provided by the German Government Press Office (BPA), German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron on the terrace, with a view of the television tower in the background during his visit to the chancellor's office on May 15, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. Macron is visiting Berlin only a day after being sworn in as president in Paris. While Macron and Merkel have both demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the European Union and Merkel strongly applauded Macron's election, they are likely to differ over Macron's desire for E.U.-issued bonds, a measure Merkel has strongly opposed in the past.  (Photo by Guido Bergmann/Bundesregierung via Getty Images)
© Getty

Sir, Redistributing their countrymen’s money is what Germany’s Social Democrats have proved to be really good at for decades. But these days it is not only about more “goodies” to be spread in Germany, but increasingly around the EU. French president Emmanuel Macron’s outstretched hand for more Europe has already been interpreted by SPD leader Martin Schulz as “a new dawn for Europe” and an “end to the diktat of austerity”. Great marketing ploys, but inherently bad policy proposals by the party-book career politician.

Does nobody really realise that the traditional planification française is on the march again? That is, not only broadening the coffers for transfers but institutionalising the whole system at the same time, away from the control of the German Bundestag and on the basis of a slippery European oversight with cumbersome decision-making instead (“ Merkel pressed on transfer union fears”, February 6).

More, and more easily available, transfer money might stop structural reform efforts in their tracks in countries such as Italy and France, or at best slow those measures down substantially. Show us results of these reforms first, then we have a much better basis on which to “show you the money”. Otmar Issing, the European Central Bank’s former chief economist, is absolutely right that nothing more than the stability of the EU is at stake.

The coalition will be expensive enough (less tax relief but more social “goodies”); hopefully it will not be completely unaffordable in view of Europe.

Dr Reinhard Fischer
Economist,
London SW14, UK

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