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Cablegate: Merkel Wows "Vision for Europe" Audience

VZCZCXRO2503
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHLE #0608 3211651
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171651Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY LUXEMBOURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5673
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES

UNCLAS LUXEMBOURG 000608

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV ECON LU GE
SUBJECT: MERKEL WOWS "VISION FOR EUROPE" AUDIENCE


1. (U) SUMMARY: In her 14 November speech accepting the 2006
Vision for Europe award, German Chancellor Angela Merkel
discussed her thoughts on the future of the European
constitution and previewed a few priorities of the upcoming
German EU Presidency. Merkel insisted the document should
remain a "constitutional treaty." She also took aim at the
proliferation of EU Directives. END SUMMARY

2. (U) Following a glowing introduction by Luxembourg Prime
Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, German Chancellor Angela Merkel
captivated the audience of the Vision for Europe 2006 award
gala given by the Luxembourg-based Edmond Israel Foundation.
Merkel first shared her thoughts on the EU Constitution
underlining that she thought it had not/not been a mistake to
call the new treaty a "constitution." Indeed, she said she
thought it had been "courageous but correct" to call it a
constitution. Merkel also discussed plans to host the Heads
of State and Government at an event to adopt a political
declaration on the occasion of the 50th anniversary
celebration of the Treaty of Rome (25 March 2007.) The
Germans hope the event will not only celebrate the successes
of the EU but more importantly map out the prospects for the
EU's future.

3. (U) Discussing reform of EU bureaucracy, another German
Presidency priority, Merkel called for a reduction of the
overall number of EU directives. She argued that these were
burdensome and awkward, particularly for new member states
who would be expected to implement "all sorts of directives"
including very detailed ones of little importance.
Questioning why the "acquis communautaire" was regarded as an
untouchable &historical monument," Merkel urged greater
flexibility. She also questioned the duration of draft EU
directives. Merkel said she felt that the duration of EU
directives should be coupled to the duration of a legislative
period. She suggested that with the election of a new
European Parliament, those EU directives which had not been
passed should be set aside thus not burdening new officials
with their predecessors' priorities.

4. (U) Merkel then turned to the subject of openness speaking
mostly concerning the economy. She said that a Europe which
constantly talks about democracy and openness, must act
accordingly or else it risked being ignored by the rest of
the world. She specifically cited &protectionist8 behavior
during WTO negotiations and said that a Europe which made
compromises would not only benefit itself, but also the
world. Regarding economic growth, she said the only way for
Europe to grow was to focus on innovation and creativity and
stressed the need to remain committed to the Lisbon Strategy
Agenda goal of spending three percent of GDP on research and
development.

5. (SBU) After the speech, Ambassador Wagner spoke privately
with the Chancellor and expressed to her the USG,s support
for Merkel,s positive comments regarding the reform of EU
bureaucracy, as well as for increased transparency in EU
decision-making. Merkel mentioned that she had just had a
very good conversation with President Bush.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: An articulate and engaging public speaker,
Merkel,s speech was a could-not-miss event for members of
the Luxembourg government, officials of the local EU
institutions, and the Luxembourg-based diplomatic corps.
Merkel,s insistence on the use of the term constitution
places her in clear contrast to recent comments made by other
European leaders - a nuance not lost on the crowd. Post
interpreted her comments regarding EU Directives more as a
reflection of general German frustration with the pace of the
EU "better regulation" program rather than a concrete
proposal for reform. END COMMENT
WAGNER

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