The irony and hypocrisy in chancellor Angela Merkel's first parliamentary speech of her third term would be astounding were it not par for the "Everything for Germany" course of action.
Please consider Chancellor Urges Reforms to Preserve Euro
In her first parliamentary speech since her re-election for a third term on Tuesday, she warned that Europe needed to take further action to make the euro zone crisis-proof.
More European Control
"I know that pushing through treaty changes in the member states can be difficult, but if you want more Europe, you have to be prepared to develop it further," Merkel said. "In a world that is constantly changing, we can't stand there and say that at some point we agreed the Lisbon Treaty and there's no need to change it again. This won't work."
Germany wants closer economic policy coordination and will push at a summit of European Union leaders on Thursday and Friday for members to agree binding contracts with the European Commission to implement further reforms.
It is also pushing for changes to the Lisbon Treaty to give greater European control over policy. Germany's closest ally in Europe, France, opposes such a move, as do other member states.
"European unity remains one of the most important tasks of the grand coalition," said Merkel. "Germany is only strong if Europe is strong."
Criticism of EU Green Energy Probe
She said she would fight an EU probe announced on Wednesday into exemptions from a green energy surcharge for some 2,000 German companies. The European Commission is examining whether the exemptions, totalling some €5 billion and granted to heavy energy users like the steel industry, were unfair and should be repaid.
The German government would not tolerate a weakening of German industry or job losses, she said. "Germany wants to remain a strong industrial location, we need competitive companies," she said. "This is about companies and when it's about companies, it's about jobs."
She said Germany's new Economy and Energy Minister, Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel, would make this very clear to the European Commission.