Berlin has emerged from EU constitutional haggling with increased power. Most significantly, Germany has been given greater voting weight in a new system that replaces one in which they were on par with Britain, France and Italy. Peter Ludlow, an expert on European politics in Brussels, called Germany’s new voting strength “a major geopolitical development in the history of the Union.”
Ironically, as Thomas Fuller of The International Herald Tribune pointed out, Germany’s current economic weakness may have worked in its favor, making it less of a concern to former enemies, such as France and others with historical concerns. However, the new voting mechanism will not take effect until 2009.
In addition, Germany’s position has been—and will be—further strengthened by the arrival in the Union of Poland and most of the other seven East European nations next spring. The economies of these countries are more closely connected with Germany than any other. “Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary have no illusions about needing to remain in step with Germany,” Ludlow said in reference to the most influential of those set to join the EU.
Finally, Britain’s decision to remain outside of the Euro further shifts the EU center of political gravity toward the east.
Source: The International Herald Tribune