Germany, France and a Lisbon “Make-over”

Arthur Beesley has a good piece in the Irish Times today where he starts to piece together the situation regarding the combined German/French push to bring in new rules on the management of financial affairs by EU member states.

Merkel/Sarkozy seem to be intent on changing the Lisbon Treaty (remember that?) to:

  • Empower un-named EU “authorities” to suspend the voting rights of member states who break EU budget “rules”
  • Turn the €750bn EU bail-out package into a permanent facility/mechanism
  • Allow governments to engage in processes by which they can re-structure/re-negotiate their national debts.

No doubt this is connected to Von Rompey’s ongoing efforts in this area but I have some questions for Merkel/Sarkozy:

  1. Germany & France have both broken the Growth & Stability Pact (which is origin of the “3% of GDP” metric) in the past – why no sanction at that stage? Are Germany & France above reproach or have they too much EU muscle?
  2. Why did the ECB not take any steps to counteract domestic over-heating in the Irish economy from 2002-2007 – was it because the Germany was sluggish and ECB monetary policy was dominated in this regard?
  3. Where did France & Germany get their mandate to remove democratic voting rights from other member states (irrespective of their actions) – is this not fundamentally anti-democractic?
  4. When will Germany & France decide to engage in open & democratic negotiations in good faith with all member states rather than cutting side-bar deals (like this one) themselves and then trying to drag everybody along?

Thankfully, as per Beesley’s article, they are not having it all their own way with an alliance of EU leaders pushing to “scale back” these plans.