February 6, 2013
..it’s not economic credibility or political credibility that we would loose if we fail to agree on the budget. It’s the advantage of a upper hand in all negotiations with any third party.
I’ll be really short.
Mr. Francois Hollande, President of the French Republic made a series of statement in his address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday, best outlined by these paragraphs from the New Europe report:
The “credibility” of the European Union is in danger of being destroyed if parties cannot agree on its long-term budget, Francoise Hollande has warned.
Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 5 February, the French president said that the EU most show it is “capable of taking decisions together, otherwise its credibility is at stake. Not just economic credibility, but political credibility as well.”
This is where I find myself on a slightly different position than Mr. Hollande (inadvertently there are more issues we would not agree with, particularly because I’m a right wing libertarian), because while the point is well made, it fails to put the accent on the right idea – we would loose the main advantage of a 500 million strong market. Imagine if say the EU would negotiate a new commercial deal with Brazil for example, and the EU could not guarantee same market access conditions for Brazilian goods across the union. This would weaken the EU’s bargaining position, and in turn cause EU products in Brazil to loose commercial advantages. I will admit though that for the larger part of the population these kinds of issues generate less interest but they are important.
Consistency in front of a foreign partner is a must. Internal frictions, such as these, that have a potential to lead to fractures, must never be allowed to become exploitable weaknesses. And yet, under 27 Foreign Affairs entities this is exactly what would happen should an outsider with an interest decide to play EU members into expanding, as previously exemplified, a trade agreement.