Cablegate: Cdu/Teufel: Insider View of European Constitution

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: CDU/Teufel: Insider View of European Constitution


1. (SBU) Baden-Wuerttemberg Minister-President (M-P) Erwin
Teufel (CDU - Christian Democratic Union), a prominent
German conservative and active participant in drafting the
proposed European constitution, supports the draft
constitution despite its shortcomings from a conservative
perspective. A Convention insider, Teufel appears
committed to enacting the constitution, but other German
opposition figures may see political opportunity in
highlighting its perceived flaws. Conservative unhappiness
on issues such as immigration and traditional values could
limit German popular acceptance of the proposed
constitution. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Pol/Econ reps met with Dr. Alexandra Zoller
(responsible for European Affairs in Baden-Wuerttemberg)
who accompanied Teufel to "European Convention" meetings
over the past year. As one of 108 delegates to the
Convention, Teufel represented the Bundesrat and the 16
German states (FM Joschka Fischer represented the national
government and former MdB Juergen Meyer (SPD) represented
the Bundestag) in the process of drafting a European
constitution to redefine the EU's institutions and

--------------------------------------------- -------------

3. (SBU) At the Convention, Teufel sought to limit control
from Brussels on issues conservatives feel are better
handled at the local or national level. Both Teufel and
the Schroeder government wanted to specify which powers
would be assigned to the EU, national, and sub-national
authorities. Teufel acknowledges that security and foreign
relations need to be coordinated at the EU level, and that
the EU must continue to govern trade, monetary policy, and
commerce. At the same time, Teufel sought to guarantee
local authority over many bread-and-butter issues including
utilities, infrastructure, land use, and elements of social
policy. In Dr. Zoller's view, the Schroeder government
gave only half-hearted support for local empowerment, and
Teufel was ultimately unsuccessful.

4. (SBU) Zoller expressed concern over issues such as
immigration, asylum, and labor market participation. Under
the current draft, some of these issues will now only
require a qualified majority vote. Most Germans worry
about the burden of immigrants and asylum seekers, and
conservatives may try to capitalize on any future EU
liberalization under the new voting procedures.

5. (SBU) Like many others in the CDU, Teufel remains
opposed to Turkish EU membership and says that the EU could
become unwieldy and overly costly if it grows too large,
too quickly. Zoller raised concerns that an Islamic
country (Turkey) would be the most populous country within
the EU by 2020, implying that Turkey is too big, too poor,
and too different culturally for the EU to digest
successfully, even in the long run. Teufel supported
inserting a preamble reference to the EU's Christian
foundations (similar to the Polish constitution), an
initiative opposed by the French and others who considered
it offensive to other faiths. NOTE: The final preamble
text makes general reference to the "cultural, religious,
and humanist inheritance of Europe" but does not refer to
any specific religion. END NOTE.


6. (SBU) Personally committed, Teufel sees the draft
Constitution as a flawed but acceptable compromise -- a
position generally in line with Schroeder and Fischer's
view that the current draft represents the best compromise
achievable and should thus be adopted without changes at
the upcoming intergovernmental conference. Other German
opposition members may be less supportive and more
opportunistic; we note Bavaria's suggestion that it may
vote in the Bundesrat against the current draft
Constitution. Teufel's importance may be in convincing the
CDU and the broader German public of the merits of the
draft, thus helping Germany to close ranks behind a new
European constitution. END COMMENT.

--------------------------------------------- --

7. (U) Baden-Wuerttemberg is the third largest state in
Germany in terms of population and territory, with a GDP
larger than Austria, Sweden, or Belgium. Major U.S.
companies, including IBM, Kodak, and Hewlett-Packard, have
their German headquarters in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Minister-
president since 1991, Teufel has solid control over this
largely conservative region.

8. (SBU) Teufel apparently enjoyed broad support from
German political parties for his role at the Convention.
Teufel befriended Giscard d'Estaing and got along well with
FM Joschka Fischer. On the heels of the year-long
convention, Teufel has broadened his network of contacts
across Europe, but now stands under pressure to support the
draft constitution despite his reservations as a political

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