Germany has long been the biggest contributor to the EU, coughing up a massive €13.4Bn in 2018 and each German pays the highest proportion of their wages to to Brussels of all the Europe Union member states. Today Mrs Merkel warned she expects a higher German contribution to the EU budget because of the coronavirus pandemic and added she was rethinking plans for the upcoming European Council Presidency where she said the focus would be on economic, climate and environmental issues.
In a video podcast the CDU boss said a massive European economic stimulus package was needed and added: “In which Germany will also have to do much more than was previously the case”.
She called the coronavirus pandemic a huge challenge and said: “Europe is of course even more important in such a situation than in normal times.
“Over the next few weeks and months it will be a matter of showing that we belong together, that we will deal with the damage, the economic consequences of this crisis and that we want to do everything possible for Europe to grow together in this situation.”
But her comments triggered an immediate and fierce response online – indicative of a nation tired of propping up struggling nations and a struggling institution.
On Twitter a quote from Joschi Fischer indicated that some Germans felt their hard work and discipline was being milked by other parts of Europe. The quote said: “Germany is a problem because the Germans are more diligent, disciplined, and more talented than the rest of Europe (and the world). This will always lead to ‘imbalances’.
“However, this can be counteracted by diverting as much money as possible from Germany. It doesn’t matter what it’s for, it can also be radically wasted – the main thing is that the Germans do not have it.”
Another tweeter called @undogmat_LINKE called for EU reform and said: “Do ALL pay a higher contribution or again ONLY Germany? #EU Reform now.”
Hannes77022932 said the hike in taxes to prop-up the EU was less to do with coronavirus than the need to fill the gaping financial hole left by Britain leaving the EU.
Accusing Mrs Merkel of political sleight of hand she said: “Oh, not because the British money is missing? Who does she really want to hide?”
And Lorenz Okon took a swipe at less successful EU nations claiming Brussels was turning Germany into the benefits office of the EU.
He said: “Italy could adjust the very low inheritance tax and other taxes to the higher German level but instead Mrs Merkel, who has once again forgotten the oath of office, is making sure that the hard-hit exporting nation of Germany mutates into a social welfare office for the EU!”
While Michael Bader simply said: “Certainly, Germany and France are the paymasters of the EU.”
The tweets indicated that many Germans were running out of patience with both the EU and Mrs Merkel’s CDU.
The Chancellor agreed broad aid packages at an EU summit on Thursday.
A €500Billion package was agreed at a meeting on Thursday.
Mrs Merkel said: “The package really needs to be in place by June 1st.”
She added the €500Billion support measure was to combat the acute consequences of the Corona crisis for member states, companies and workers but added: “But that’s not enough. We need an economic stimulus package after the crisis. Even after the crisis has ended the economic damage will be great.”
Germany takes the helm of the European Council in July.
Mrs Merkel said: “It will run differently than we had planned. And it will be clearly shaped by the question of combating the pandemic and its consequences.”
Published at Sat, 25 Apr 2020 16:36:00 +0000