Germany as Husband

My son-in-law forwarded “Germany Is Tired of Footing the European Bill” (from On-Line English edition of Der Spiegel). It discusses preparations for June 16-17 when

Europe’s heads of state will come together for their next summit and to ratify the European budgetary framework for the coming years. What may sound like a routine yawner is really a meeting at which nothing less than the future of Europe will be decided — and especially Germany’s role in that future. On those two days in June, the assembled heads of states will decide how much each member state should pay to Brussels and how much it should receive in payments from Brussels, if anything.

The potential pitfalls are huge; the European Commission’s proposals in this regard are completely unacceptable to the German government. According to the current draft of the legislation, which bears the relatively innocuous-sounding title “Financial Forecast for 2007 to 2013,” the EU’s budget will increase from about €100 billion this year to €158 billion in 2013. This increase would have serious consequences for Germany, which, as Europe’s largest economy, pays by far the most into the common budget. Between now and 2013, Germany’s contribution to the EU would almost double, to about €40 billion. Instead of the current 8 percent of its federal budget, Berlin would then be required to send more than 10 percent of its budget to Brussels.

The authors observe that

the Germans send significantly more money to Brussels than they receive back. In 2003, the difference amounted to €7.7 billion, making Germany the biggest net contributor by a long shot. Only the Netherlands and Sweden pay more on a per capita basis.

8 thoughts on “Germany as Husband”

  1. Ginny, great way to frame this. Germany as this big, serious Male figure who has had just about enough of this nonsense, and the Latin countries as these aging beauties with too much makeup and no responsibility with the checkbook.

    The EU should have a new motto: “Europe: Who the Hell is Paying for All This??”

  2. Ginny, tell him he should tell the Germans, see? There’s something we Amis and you can agree about, we’re also tired of footing Europe’s bills.

    And then watch the fur fly.

  3. Dear Berlin,

    By 1980 the combined GNP and population of NATO Europe exceeded that of the United States. However, you and your fellow Europeans felt no need to take the burden off the United States for the massive defense deployment which provided your liberty and freedoms. Yes, there were a few ‘show’ efforts that you made to demonstrate your participation, but in hard money you were not going to make the commitment out of your budgets to pay for your defense. Now you’re complaining about getting back less than you put in the pot from your fellow EU’ers. I just want to thank you for the humor you have now brought into my life.


    An American Taxpayer

  4. I have no complaints about Europe letting its military establishment atrophy.

    It’s a damn sight better than getting sucked into a #$*&#&* World War every 20 years.

    Seriously, Europe when it had real military might tended to be far more trouble than it was worth. If they’re not very powerful allies, then at least they can’t become very powerful enemies. Now if we could just find some way to extend our protection to China, Russia, and Iran and get them to sponge off of our military establishment instead of beefing up their own, then we’d really be set.

  5. I don’t think the defense spending argument really adds up – in the 80’s European defense spending was about 4% of GDP to the US’s 5% (if Germany was excluded). Not much difference especially when you consider that the US had to project abroad.

    And while its easy to blame Germany, its worth remembering that it couldn’t really spend on anything other than defensive equipment as a result of its “international commitments” – despite which it spend nearly 3 times as much as Japan – which was in the same boat.

    For Europe the more interesting difference is what has happened since. Some such as Greece now spend more than the US on defense, France and the UK have maintained their proportional share to the US i.e. about 80% but a significant a number of countries such as Austria (0.8%), Spain (1.2%) and Germany (1.5%) have virtually shelved their armies. This si where the real free riding comes in; if you discount terrorism, the most likely areas for a conventional conflict to break out would be with a Margreb country or somewhere in the Balkans. And it’s the European countries that abut these frontiers that are spending the least.

  6. According to me this is the second best European country in the world due to its developement and civilisation and I will be happy to vist this country and explore around certin places.

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