Much (probably wayward) talk of "discipline". What is it that Merkel and Sarkozy want? And is it the same thing? The Guardian eurozone blog exposes the difference - at least I think it's a difference.
There are different interpretations. Merkel wants the European commission to have a veto over countries' tax and budget plans, whereas the French want national parliaments to be involved, as the budget minister Valérie Pécresse spelled out yesterday.
Pécresse declared after a cabinet meeting that France wanted "more budgetary discipline, but a budgetary discipline exercised by the states, with a real participation by national parliaments" .
So plenty of hurdles to overcome. Including in Germany - as Merkel pointed out in her speech, "the German constitution does not permit devolving budget control to a European institution".
She said her vision was that the European commission and the European courts must have a bigger role "without the German parliament losing budget control". The big question, though, is how is fiscal union credible if parliaments can veto the demands of the central authorities?
Difficult to fudge this. Merkel and Sarkozy appear to want more central control, but not at the expense of national parliaments or, at least, of their national parliaments. Which means, I suppose, a very severe limit on the control of central authorities. Which kinda invalidates the whole shooting match (unless of course it is only the less respectable national parliaments - yes our Mediterranean chums again - that are expected to submit to the will of Brussels and Frankfurt) ...