Merkel: I do not ‘want to let the people vote’
The following exchange between Merkel and Handelsblatt is problematic given the repeated refrain in Europe that the euro system and the entire EU is an ‘elite project’
In the CSU the calls for a referendum on the planned permanent euro rescue umbrella ESM are increasing. Do you want to let the people vote? If not, why not?
My position on representative democracy at the federal level, on the balance between Bundestag and Bundesrat are known and unchanged. We have plebiscites on the municipal level and within countries. I think that our democratic system, as it is in Germany, gives us great internal stability.
Germans really are sceptical of the euro and many miss the days of the Deutsche Mark. I think Merkel is trying to make the case for why the German people have never been given a direct vote on any major euro area decision. No one wants tyranny of the majority. So I agree on the benefits of representative democracy over direct democracy at the federal level. That said, I do think critical changes like voting on a European constitution or giving up the currency should be voted on directly in Germany (or Greece for that matter). Merkel is in awkward position because it has long been clear that German elites have been leading the German people in a direction that many believe is the wrong direction. If the European economy collapses in a heap and leaves Germany in a Depression, the euro itself will be blamed – and the European elites along with it.
Source: „Der Euro erlebt seine erste große Krise“ – Handelsblatt