Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Policy, recently held a joint press conference with President José Manuel Durão Barroso on Reinforced economic policy cooperation in Europe where he again flagged their desire to have more input into National budgets:
The Lisbon Treaty provides plenty of room for progress through a better and full use of the existing economic policy instruments, and through revised and new secondary legislation, where needed. In particular, article 136 on economic policy coordination enables us to develop new tools for reinforced economic governance in euro area.
Today’s communication is built on three blocks:
First, we must reinforce both the preventive and the corrective arms of the SGP. The Pact is a solid set of rules, but it has suffered from a chronic failure to comply with rules and principles.
The essential cornerstone of reinforced economic governance is to coordinate fiscal policy in advance, in order to ensure that national budgets are consistent with the European dimension, so that they don’t put at risk the stability of the other member states. This can be done in the framework of a European economic semester.
He had raised this theme in an interview with EUBusiness:
The preliminary monitoring would not mean a thorough point-by-point review of national finances, but the European Commission would aim to evaluate member states’ budgets and provide recommendations as needed.
An article in L’Humanité commented:
By demanding the right to veto its member countries’ budgets, the European Commission challenges the peoples’ sovereignty and appears set to take a new step towards the authoritarian and ruinous super-austerity policy demanded by Angela Merkel and supported by Nicolas Sarkozy
A few days before L’Humanité also had this to say:
History has proven correct those who denounced the Single European Act in 1986, who voted “no” to the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, and rejected the Giscard constitution in 2005. But the makers of the crisis obstructed the debate in progress, wishing to fix the destiny of Europe in isolation from the people, and today wish to deprive the parliaments of the right to vote freely their own national budgets. This liberal and authoritarian haste is pushing Europe toward a catastrophe. We must reopen the citizen debate, to provide proof that a different European construction is possible.