Germany wants faster progress towards a federalist Europe

Germany is pulling away from Britain and moving closer to France again as it seeks to build a federalist Europe, the German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, signalled yesterday.

In a speech certain to provoke the ire of Eurosceptics in Britain, Mr Fischer was outlining his vision of a two-speed Europe, with an exclusive club of states bound by a common government at its core. Countries reluctant to proceed with the pace set by the group would find themselves in a second division, excluded from decisions.

Mr Fischer said the European Union's unwieldy structure and the crisis of the euro had thrown up a multitude of questions, to which there was one answer: "The transition from a union of states to full parliamentarisation... And that means nothing less than a European Parliament and a European government which really do exercise legislative and executive power within the Federation." Aware of the resonance of the "f-word" in the British context, Mr Fischer apologised to "our friends in the United Kingdom".

"I know that the term 'federation' irritates many Britons," he added. "But to date I have been unable to come up with another word. We do not wish to irritate anyone." Irate Eurosceptics will nevertheless seize on his statement as evidence of German ambition to abolish national sovereignty. Britain took a lead three years ago in opposing Franco-German ideas for a two-speed Europe, and now Germany clearly wants to go beyond that.

Mr Fischer spoke of a "centre of gravity" formed perhaps by the countries that have agreed to join monetary union. This group would form a common parliament and elect a president. Membership of this club would be open to all EU states, but they would have to fulfil entrance criteria.

He stressed he was merely expressing his "personal opinion", but his speech echoes efforts by his government to revive the Franco-German axis.

Realising that Britain continues to be hampered by its ambivalent attitude to monetary union, Berlin feels compelled to work more closely with Paris on the next stage of EU reforms. A set of joint proposals is expected to be tabled at the next EU summit.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Research Executive - Quantitative/Qualitative

£27000 - £31000 Per Annum Excellent Benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

ETL Developer / Consultant

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

DT Teacher, Full time supply role, Maidstone school

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We urgently require an experienc...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week