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?