There has been a lot of discussion on what should be regulated at national level or at European level in the context of the Brexit referendum.
ZEW, a research institute in Germany, surveyed national parliamentarians of both France and Germany on areas of European collaboration. The bilingual survey was carried out among members of the French Senate, the National Assembly and the German Bundestag.
The purpose was to understand whether there is agreement or disagreement among French and German politicians on integration in 6 areas – energy, immigration, taxation, wages, labour regulation and defence.
Why focusing on France and Germany? The two countries have historically played an important role in proposing new initiatives to strengthen cooperation within the European Union. Although a consensus between the two does not mean that their proposals will be accepted by other EU members, it is also not realistic to expect future reforms that are not supported by Berlin and Paris.
Results: overall, German members of parliament are more reluctant than the French to shift more competencies to the EU. French parliamentarians support more European integration in the fields of immigration, taxation, wages, labour market and defence, while German MPs support more cooperation only on immigration and defence. The study concludes that, both across countries and political parties, there is a Franco-German consensus on greater integration in the fields of defence and immigration.
As regards the euro zone, French and German parliamentarians agree that higher national investments are required to stimulate growth. Responses are more heterogeneous, however, with regard to the flexibility of the labour markets and there is considerable disagreement on the introduction of Eurobonds, with German parliamentarians opposing the idea.