A new constitution for Germany?
The current crisis in the Euro zone is forcing Germany to consider radical changes to its political system. This might even force Germany to introduce a completely new constitution.
Senior German politicians, including Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and the Prime Minister of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, have called for referenda on Germany's place in Europe. "We have to make sure that Brussels is not taking even more powers away from Berlin and Munich without asking the people of Germany", a spokesman said. Mr Seehofer has now suggested that Germany voluntarily change the constitution so a referundum would be required everytime before giving more powers to Brussels, enlarging the European Union or giving German money to bail out other EU nations.
Currently, the German Grundgesetz (Basic Law) doesn't give a role for referenda for these kinds of decisions. However, leading politicians think it is quite likely the European Union could force Germany to change its constitution and adjust it to the current political challenges, should Germany not do so voluntarily. Many experts expect the Bundesverfassungsgericht (German Constitutional Court) to soon announce that Germany has gone as far toward a European superstate as is allowed by the constitution. This decision would lead to the biggest changes in German constitution since the foundation of the Federal Republic back in 1949.
Some expters even speculate that this new constitution could be part of a new EU-wide constitution, expanding the powers of European government. Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle strongly supported this idea. "I hope that we have a real European constitution and that there will also be a referendum on it", Mr Westerwelle stated.
The idea of creating a political union, with more powers concentrated at the EU level, is gaining ground among all the major political parties, with the exception of the Bavarian Conservatives, the CSU. Politicians of the CSU in the Bavarian parliament, the Landtag, said that they will not be supporting any constitutional changes that could lead to what they call the "United States of Europe". However, adjusting the Grundgesetz to the new EU environment seems inevitable. It is likely CSU-politicians could change their minds on that issue. After all, Bavaria is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the institution that is the European Union.