Discussing Europe's Future: EU Members Slam Westerwelle's Exclusive Meeting
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has annoyed his European colleagues by planning a meeting on Europe's post-crisis future, but only inviting representatives from a select list of member states. The meeting's timing has also been described as inappropriate, given the challenges the EU currently faces.
A number of European countries have criticized the guest list for an upcoming meeting organized by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. The event, which is scheduled for Tuesday, is meant to focus on Europe's future after the euro crisis, but Westerwelle's perceived exclusivity has become the focus instead, SPIEGEL has learned.
Just 10 of Westerwelle's European colleagues have apparently been invited to the informal gathering at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin. A diplomatic source in Sweden, which was not among the countries invited, told SPIEGEL that Westerwelle was not contributing to EU cooperation by leaving some countries out.
While the Danish foreign minister did make the cut, Copenhagen reportedly sees Westerwelle's diplomatic initiative as a slight to its position at the helm of the EU's rotating presidency, which Denmark holds for the first half of 2012.
Westerwelle also faces criticism in Ireland, where the recently negotiated fiscal pact still needs to be approved by referendum. From Dublin's perspective, Westerwelle's debate on the future of Europe is seen as unhelpful at the present moment, in light of the currency union's current challenges.
Last week, German news reports quoted sources within the Foreign Ministry saying that they aimed to spearhead a foward-looking strategy "at a time of diminishing enthusiasm" for the European project. They reportedly want the bloc to look beyond Europe's current crisis, and have suggested that the meeting on Tuesday could pave the way for future discussion.
The criticism comes a month after Westerwelle told SPIEGEL that he wanted to improve Germany's image in Europe. "We should not believe that we will always be the strong man of Europe," he said.
Stay informed with our free news services:
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2012
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH
Click on the links below for more information about DER SPIEGEL's history, how to subscribe or purchase the latest issue of the German-language edition in print or digital form or how to obtain rights to reprint SPIEGEL articles.
- Frequently Asked Questions: Everything You Need to Know about DER SPIEGEL
- Six Decades of Quality Journalism: The History of DER SPIEGEL
- A New Home in HafenCity: SPIEGEL's New Hamburg HQ
- Reprints: How To License SPIEGEL Articles
Corriere della Sera
MORE FROM SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL
German PoliticsMerkel's Moves: Power Struggles in Berlin
World War IITruth and Reconciliation: Why the War Still Haunts Europe
EnergyGreen Power: The Future of Energy
European UnionUnited Europe: A Continental Project
Climate ChangeGlobal Warming: Curbing Carbon Before It's Too Late