06 December 2011

All sweetness and light?

Very pleased for them both, I'm sure.  Long life and happiness, and may all their troubles be little ones.  The Independent reports:

President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel will ask other EU leaders later this week to approve sweeping ideas for a new, or amended, EU treaty to punish countries that allowed deficits to spin out of control.
Although falling short of the federalist "fiscal union" that Germany had demanded, the plans would impose near-automatic penalties on countries that broke agreed budget and debt limits.

Admittedly, I'm not entirely clear about the status of "near-automatic" penalties; either they are automatic or they are not.  (It's a bit like pregnancy.)  Then there is the question of how Greece and Italy (et al) bring their deficits down to acceptable levels; assertion does not automatically (that word again) lead to execution.

Furthermore, if these arrangements need to be embodied in a treaty of the 27 or the 17, how long is it going to take for the proposed treaty to be ratified by the member states and what happens meantime?

Finally, I can't see any solution in the proposals that would address the fundamental issue of the comparative competitiveness of different member states.  But, hey, I'm a bit of a pessimist; things are sure to turn out fine.  Won't they?

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