There is a "poisonous struggle" between Berlin and Karlsruhe, says Die Welt
. Merkel, it reports, has jokingly compared Andreas Voßkuhle, the youngest ever president of the Federal Constitutional Court, with a dangerous scorpion – along with the other fifteen members. And nobody is laughing.
The proximate cause is the request to the Federal President by the court last week to refuse to sign the law ratifying the fiscal pact, thus putting Germany in the embarrassing position of holding up the inauguration of the ESM.
This, however, is against the background of Voßkuhle recently declaring that: "Constitutional courts do not serve to strengthen the government", then insisting that the basic law was observed, "even during the crisis". There are to be no short-cuts on Voßkuhle's watch.
The crunch now comes with Karlsruhe wanting European treaties to be discussed as widely as possible in Parliament, with less haste, so that parliamentarians can reflect on key decisions. The Chancellor, on the other hand, does not want a growing debate at home. Rather, she wants a free hand in negotiations in Europe.
At stake, therefore, is the very essence of democracy, with Handelsblatt remarking that, in order to save the euro, democracy is being corrupted.
Picking up on the Schäuble interview in Spiegel, the business daily is asserting that Germany is creeping closer to the point where a referendum will be needed before any further integration can go ahead.
Furthermore, Barroso's ambitions are beginning to attract hostility from politicians in Germany. "The debt crisis will be used by bureaucrats in Brussels to force a new level of centralism," says Frank Schaeffler, the financial spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, noting that the "European superstate" lacked public acceptance.
Klaus-Peter Willsch of Merkel's CDU complains that, "Without any legitimacy, we have transformed the EU into a structure that we have never wanted". The ESM has "cemented the road to a debt union", doing exactly the opposite of what the peoples were promised with the introduction of the euro, he says.
Tightening the screw is Federal Reserve Chairman, reinforcing the stance of the Bundesbank. This is Jens Weidmann, and he too rejects the idea of a speedy introduction of a Banking Union, without a "profound reform of the euro area, including a fiscal union".
Elsewhere, the pressure is increasing, as Cyprus banks declare they will need €4 billion in order to stabilise its system - the equivalent of 23 percent of the country's GDP. Greece's finance minister, without even waiting to be sworn in, has resigned – ostensibly on health grounds. And the Greek prime minister is to miss the European Council, also on health grounds.
Adding to the stress, Spain has formalised a request to Brussels for a €100 billion banking bailout, although details of any potential deal have not been released (or even agreed), making the markets (or their computer algorithms) distinctly nervous. The next step must now negotiate a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MoU) as the basis for an agreement. Specific conditions for the loans would then be determined.
To add insult to injury, a poll of 4,000 people shows 78 percent of Germans and 65 percent of French wanting Greece to quit the eurozone, with 51 percent in Spain and 49 percent in Italy also backing a Greek exit.
On the other hand, an Ifop-Fiducial survey had more Germans favouring departure from the euro area than those in France, Italy and Spain. Some 39 percent of Germans would back such a move, compared with 28 percent of Italians, 26 percent of French voters and 24 percent of Spaniards.
However, Angela Merkel now has other worries. Speaking in Berlin at the Conference on Sustainable Development (oh, the irony!), she said of the European Council, that there was far too much talk on possible ways to share debt, and too little on improving controls and structural measures – almost exactly what Jens Weidmann is saying.
Thus, the word that keeps springing to mind is "unravelling". It keeps coming up and won't go away. If the end game of this new treaty is a German referendum, others will follow. Thus, I really can't see ratification being a success.
Any which way you look at it, Schäuble's unbridled optimism does not seem to have any substance. Pessimism is taking over
so if there is a rabbit ready to be plucked out of the hat, it needs to be a really good one. A magic wand might also help, but working models are in short supply.