The recent visit of the German Chancellor to Poland was remembered by the joint press conference of Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo. In Warsaw, Merkel reaffirmed the change in the course of Berlin towards the European Union and has already spoken of the “two speeds Europe” policy as the final choice of Germany. Shidlo did not object and challenge the new concept of Merkel, although recently the Poles actively criticized such an approach to the development of the European Union.
Subsidies do not help small countries to become equal in the economic field of Europe
For Beata Shidlo, the words of the guest did not become such a great revelation. All this she already heard 3 February at the summit of leaders of European countries in the Maltese capital. Angela Merkel there, for the first time, formulated her new policy and stated: “History In recent years, it has shown that in the EU there will continue to be various speeds, that not everyone will certainly participate in certain integration steps. ”
The division into “first and lagging behind” has long been haunting the minds of politicians in Old Europe. Merkel categorically rejected such an approach. Therefore, her words in Malta were perceived by many as a search for possible options for overcoming the crisis in the EU. In Warsaw, it turned out that the options actually no longer exist. In Berlin, we decided on the concept of the further development of the alliance of European states. He was called the "Europe of two speeds".
In fact, this term was introduced into use shortly after the 2009 crisis of the year. Then the politicians of Old Europe had a desire to ease the burden of spending on supporting new EU members. Indeed, due to the subsidies of the alliance, the economies of the newly admitted countries have leveled off. In this sense, Poland was the luckiest.
She was given preferences for the movement of goods to Europe, primarily food. And most importantly - allocated financial support. About her there are different data. For example, summing up ten years of membership in the European Union, the Ministry of Finance of Poland reported that during a specified time, the Poles received 101,3 billion in European aid as part of programs to improve the standard of living and competitiveness of the economy.
Polish Ministry of Finance objected publication Puls Biznesu. According to his calculations, Poland for ten years (from 2004 to 2014 year) received from the EU net aid worth more than 336 billion euros. This is comparable to the Polish GDP of the year 2013. As the newspaper noted, she took into account all types of assistance, and not just funds allocated for targeted programs.
With such money, writes Puls Biznesu, Poland could build daily 10 modern schools or 10 kilometers of highways. Of course, such a serious financial support raised the Polish economy and the well-being of its citizens. However, the effect of European subsidies did not equal the possibilities of the Poles with the old EU members, as the founding fathers of the alliance wanted.
In 2014, the economy of Poland decently did not reach the average European, making only 2 / 3 its level. This is clearly seen in the key indicator - per capita GDP. In Poland, it (according to data for 2014 year) grew up to 18,6 thousand euros, on average in the EU - to 27,7 thousand. Naturally, the leading countries of the alliance, this figure is almost twice the Polish. So Old Europe still has to pull and pull Poland to its level. Therefore, the targeted assistance to Warsaw of the order of 2014 billion euros was laid down in the plans of 2020-80.
Experts note that such strong support for Poland stems from the activity of the Polish lobby in Washington and the bright pro-American policy of Warsaw. Be that as it may, Poland’s financial assistance from the EU is at least one and a half times larger than its Eastern European neighbors. However, even such powerful injections into the Polish economy did not help it to become equal to the average European one.
Noting this fact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply criticized the ideologues of "two-speed" Europe. On the air of ARD TV channel, Merkel noted that without the support of the European Union, the distance between the economies of the old and new members of the alliance will only increase. It was five years ago.
At the expense of whom the European Union will crawl through the crisis?
The German Chancellor then insisted that Europe needs to strengthen the integration processes. It needs to unite not only into a monetary union, but also to work out a common budget policy, and most importantly, “step by step, transfer its powers to European structures and pass under their control.”
Merkel tried to bring all these plans to life. She developed a plan to strengthen the political union, presented it at the next summit of the heads of EU member states. The Merkel plan envisaged, in particular, to take under the general control all major European banks, to strengthen the control of the European Commission and other structures of the alliance over the development of the situation in individual countries, etc.
Oddly enough, Merkel’s initiative, supported at the summit, stumbled over the realities of life. The fact is that the European Union, with all its subsidies and other assistance, has already developed in two parallels. For example, only the 19 EU countries entered the euro zone, which became the meaning of new Europe and the main incentive for German business. The remaining nine, including the Poland mentioned here, have chosen to stay with their currency or are not ready for the transition to Eurozone standards.
This alone has created serious problems for the development of the monetary union, its integration processes and stimulated the “two-speed” Europe, holding back its fiscal and budgetary union. It is characteristic that some of the countries of the alliance did not fall into another European association - the Schengen Agreement, which opens up free access for the movement of EU citizens and labor resources. In order to pull up to a general level, for example, Bulgaria, Romania or Croatia, to make them full-fledged participants in all European structures, new financial investments, estimated at hundreds of billions of euros, will be required.
Such generosity today is beyond the means of the European Union. After leaving the UK, there is a hole in the budget of the alliance, estimated by economists at 15 billion euros. It is clear that this burden will fall on the countries of Old Europe. They already have a negative balance today, when they give the EU more than they get back. For Germany, for example, its contribution to 12 billion euros exceeds income to Berlin from the EU.
There are two ways out of this collision. The first is to throw off European “old men” and replenish the budget of the European Union. In the conditions of the financial crisis and stagnation of the leading economies of Europe, this will not be easy to do. The second way is to reduce subsidies to weak economies and thereby make them lag even more. In other words, the “Europe of two speeds”, which was recently recently desecrated by Berlin, is now becoming a priority concept for it. Angela Merkel in Warsaw spoke out quite frankly about this.
True, the continent’s market is somewhat wider than the new concept of development speed. There is also a third parallel in it - an associative membership, to which multi-million Ukraine was so actively dragged. This list contains a large list of countries - from Turkey to Israel. For export-oriented economies like the German one, such a wide market will help crawl through the obstacles of the current crisis. The rest will lag behind the leading countries even more. This means that in order to level off the economies of the alliance in the future, new financial spending will be required. Where do you get them from? There is no answer to this question today.
Experts are inclined to believe that the two speeds of Europe, about which even Angela Merkel is now speaking, will be a sentence to the European Union. And lead to the degradation of this association. Why did the German Chancellor change her position so radically? Most likely, for her it is a way to get out of the accumulated problems at the expense of small European economies, which have already pretty lost their labor and industrial resources. Everyone is saved as they can ...