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ZEW: Franco-German Survey Among Members of Parliament on Europe

Date

28 Sep 2016

Sections

Global Europe
Justice & Home Affairs
Security

Survey Among Members of the Assemblée Nationale, the Sénat and the German
Bundestag

Franco-German Consensus on More European Integration in Defence
and Immigration Policy

French and German members of parliament (MPs) are both open to granting
more competencies to the EU in the fields of defence and immigration
policy. There is, however, considerable disagreement on certain reform
proposals for the eurozone. While the French politicians support the
adoption of a joint liability scheme in form of Eurobonds and a common
European Monetary Union unemployment insurance (EMU-UI), German
representatives are opposing these proposals. MPs from both countries
agree, however, that higher investments by Member States may serve as an
instrument to spur growth in the eurozone. These are the findings of a
study by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), which will be
presented in Brussels today.

In collaboration with the École Polytechnique in Paris and the University
of Mannheim, ZEW surveyed members of the German Bundestag as well as
members of the French Assemblée Nationale and the Sénat. A total of 232 MPs
from both countries participated in the survey conducted between April and
July 2016. According to the survey, French MPs are in general more open
towards shifting competencies to Brussels than their German colleagues. In
particular in the fields of taxation, wage policy and labour market
regulation, German MPs are more reluctant to grant more competencies to the
EU than their French counterparts.

When asked about reform proposals for the eurozone, German and French MPs
adopted different positions. There is, for instance, disagreement between
MPs from both countries regarding policy proposals, which are intended to
increase fiscal integration such as Eurobonds or a common EMU-UI, with the
majority of French MPs advocating such a policy and German MPs opposing it.
"Given the unfavourable conditions in the French labour market as well as
France’s fragile fiscal situation, French MPs may perceive the possible net
benefits of adopting solidarity measures," says Professor Friedrich
Heinemann, co-author of the study and head of the ZEW Research Department
"Corporate Taxation and Public Finance".

When it comes to the assessment of the European Central Bank's (ECB)
current monetary policy, views are polarised between Paris and Berlin:
Whilst the ECB’s asset purchase programmes enjoy strong backing from French
MPs, many members from the Bundestag voiced scepticism about these
transactions. The survey revealed a Franco-German divide even within party
families, particularly when asked about controversial issues. For instance,
members of the German conservative party were strictly against the
introduction of Eurobonds. Among the French conservative party members, by
contrast, the result was less unanimous. However, further Franco-German
consensus was established as MPs from both countries agreed on the
potential of higher national investments as a remedy for low growth.

All in all, the survey provides a clear indication of both the potentials
and limits of new Franco-German reform initiatives in a post-Brexit EU.
"Due to the lack of a basic consensus among the two largest countries in
the eurozone, the implementation of groundbreaking reforms for the
institutional set-up of the euro is unlikely to happen. In contrast, new
integration options in the fields of defence and immigration may count on a
Franco-German backing," concludes Friedrich Heinemann, summarising the
results of the survey.

The complete survey in English is available for download at:
http://ftp.zew.de/pub/zew-docs/policybrief/pb05-16.pdf

For more information please contact:
Prof. Dr. Friedrich Heinemann, Phone +49(0)621/1235-149, E-mail
heinemann@zew.de

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