Anger And Mystery Evolve Around French-German Economic Pact

Holy Bananas! These EU politicians are screwing things up faster than Duracell-rabbits on EPO: President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, was (almost practically) nailed to the floor during today’s meeting at the EU parliament by angry MEPs who demanded answers and explanations of the alleged French-German economic pact, and the six-point plan that’s been drafted. Some of the EU politicians says that it’s not a French, nor German, document, wile others confirm that it is an official EU document – not an internal paper or part of some project. This is exactly the type of situation I’ve been worried about, and tried to warn you about.

“What we are up against now is the weakness of the German position and bullying of the Brits who threaten anyone with a referendum. If the European Commission and the parliament don’t stand up for themselves and the spirit of the treaty, then we’re in real trouble.”

Andrew Duff


MEPs vent fury today at the EU council‘s president Herman Van Rompuy over the French-German economic plan. Mr. Van Rompuy was confronted with an avalanche of criticism from MEPs for allegedly letting France and Germany run the show when it comes to economic governance of the euro zone, at the expense of other member states and EU institutions.

The heated discussions revolved around the “Pact for Competitiveness” drafted by France and Germany and circulated in an informal way a few days before an EU leaders meeting last Friday.

The six-point plan, seen by EUobserver, suggest, amongst other proposals, the abolition of the salary indexation systems, greater harmonization of member-state corporate tax rates and an overhaul of national pension systems.

Speaking in front of the parliament’s political-group leaders and committee chairs, Mr Van Rompuy denied that the document was the origin of a fresh drive to deliver further economic co-ordination in the euro zone.

Extracts

Let’s cut in at the point were the leader of the Socialist group, Martin Schulz, waved the document in front of him:

Van Rompuy: Although there have been some documents going around, there has not been any suggestion, any plan put on the table at the Council. Not at all. No proposal whatsoever. I’m speaking about the Council, I was there – you were not.

Schulz: (Pointing his finger at the document).

Van Rompuy: There were no proposals put on the table. Not by one country, two countries. Nothing.

Schulz: (Waving the document) I saw the document. But it’s not a Franco-German one, it was not presented to the Council, it was not discussed there. This is not a non-paper of the Council, (A Brussels jargon for a non-paper is an informal discussion document drafted by EU institutions on sensitive topics.)

Van Rompuy: I can only swear on the (EU) treaty, not the community matter. The concrete proposals will be drafted in close co-operation with the European Commission.

Joseph Daul: Economic governance has to be dealt with and debated in a community framework, and  member states should not impose anything on others.

Guy Verhofstad: I received the paper 24 hours before the summit and I heard there were prime ministers who didn’t get the chance to read it before the start of the session, so they didn’t even knew what they were discussing. We need to make decisions based on proposals by the European Commission. That is what the Lisbon Treaty is about, not an organization of national states.

Rebecca Harms: No matter how meager the results are, we always get reports of how smooth everything went. We need more honest declarations which pinpoint the problems. The Franco-German pact is the title used everywhere instead of what was actually discussed and I think this stands for the disaster brought about by Ms Merkel and Mr Sarkozy. There was not one single criticism from Mr. Van Rompuy or the European Commission. It seems like you’re playing hide and seek and it is difficult to believe that the Council understands the community matter.

Fury Still Raging

The side-lining of Mr. Van Rompuy is “unfair” and puts himself in an “embarrassing position”, but he is also “very clumsy,” British Liberal MEP Andrew Duff says in an interview with the EUobserver.

“Perhaps Mr Sarkozy and Ms Merkel are not as in tune with the EU as they may have been in the past. They are also under pressure from the UK to do everything in an inter-governmental way. But they should stand up to Mr Cameron. He also has to abide by the treaties, despite the fact his country is not in the euro-zone.”

Mr. Duff is arguing that Berlin – traditionally a staunch supporter of EU institutions and the “community matter” – has “succumbed” to French and British bullying.

He says he is disappointed by Ms. Merkel. Himself part of the parliamentary delegation that negotiated the Lisbon Treaty, and that he had hoped that the German chancellor, at that time in charge of chairing EU meetings, had grown to appreciate the “importance of the community method.”

“What we are up against now is the weakness of the German position and bullying of the Brits who threaten anyone with a referendum. If the European Commission and the parliament don’t stand up for themselves and the spirit of the treaty, then we’re in real trouble,” he warns.

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6 responses to “Anger And Mystery Evolve Around French-German Economic Pact

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