Newspapers, TV and radio stations are all a flutter this morning with concerns about the creation of a two-speed or two-tier European Union, but the emergence of the so-called Frankfurt Group in the margins of last week’s G20 meeting in Cannes has now raised greater worries of an even more fragmented, divided and complicated THREE-TIER EU.
This self-proclaimed and self-mandated group comprising of the Presidents of the EU executive Commission and Council of member states, the heads of the IMF, ECB, Eurozone finance ministers, Germany and France has the real capacity to cause even greater complications and squabbling in the already fractious 27-nation bloc.
"The last thing the EU needs, and more importantly the Euro or the markets need, is yet another bloody quasi institution which nobody understands," was the reaction of one long-serving senior official in Brussels.
The markets have been yearning for a clearer and streamlined decision-making process in Brussels, in particular on the governance of the Euro.
But instead of galvanising the Eurozone or the EU, the Frankfurt Group, is more likely to cause resentment and divisions among many countries already tackling growing public distrust and anger towards Brussels, Berlin and Paris who they see as eroding national sovereignty and creating an elite Eurozone dictatorship.
For the last number of weeks we have seen lots of references to the so-called "ins" and "outs", but now we have the "inbetweeners". These are countries in the Euro who on the one hand have behaved themselves fiscally, but have not been given a place at the top table of the Frankfurt Group. Countries like the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium Austria, and Luxembourg. Then there are those Euro countries already on the naughty step — Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy — who find themselves taking instruction on their economic futures by this handpicked group of policy makers who have no secretariat let alone an office building.
So who exactly decided that this virtual group should meet in Cannes ? Who put them in charge of running Europe’s economy?
I am sure those countries inside the EU, but outside the Euro would love to know. The UK, Denmark, Sweden and many eastern European states like Poland — an aspiring Eurozone economy with positive growth which holds the rotating presidency of EU finance ministers, but has had the door shut in their face by Paris and Berlin when they asked to listen in or be briefed on meetings so Euro and EU monetary and fiscal policies could be aligned.
Did Angela and Nicolas tell David (Cameron) about their plans in Cannes ? And what did Obama, who has regularly struggled to grasp and frequently knocked the complexities of the EU machinery, think of it all?
Both Obama and Cameron will also be concerned about Christine Lagarde’s appearance alongside "Merkozy" in Cannes. Who told the IMF chief she could join the Frankfurt Group ? The emerging economies who are biting at Lagarde’s heels for greater influence, certainly didn’t tell her.
This blog first appeared in The Huffington Post