Olli Rehn: “We are now in the decade of fundamental reforms”

As the Irish Times notes,  EU economics and monetary affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn has joined the head of the IMF in calling for “well coordinated action to safeguard stability in the euro area”.  From the Irish Times

Mr Rehn told the conference [in Athens] that the euro area was determined to agree thorough reform to set up a new system of economic governance.

“We will not stop until we have accomplished our mission. We are now in the decade of fundamental reforms,” he said. “During the last decade economic divergence increased among member states.”

What that “well coordinated action” will be remains to be seen.  Frau Bundeskanzerlin, history’s knocking…

And, as the Irish Times’ Arthur Beesley reports, the first “narrow change” is on its way

German chancellor Angela Merkel pressed EU leaders to accept treaty change as she fears Germany’s powerful constitutional court will take issue with the €750 billion temporary fund which is being used in the €85 billion rescue of Ireland by the EU and the IMF.

Other leaders, among them Taoiseach Brian Cowen, were reluctant to follow Dr Merkel because they feared that any move to revise the treaty would open the floodgates to competing claims for other changes.

While the chancellor prevailed, her counterparts agreed to examine treaty change on the basis that the move would not lead to a referendum in Ireland or any other member state.

There is no provision in the Lisbon pact for sovereign rescues and the treaty still includes the “no-bailout clause”, which dates back to the origins of monetary union.

While the EU authorities insist the rescue of Greece and the creation of the €750 billion fund do not infringe this clause, Dr Merkel fears the German constitutional court may take a different view.

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  • Seymour Major

    Let me get this right.

    The Greek and Irish bailout packages may be found to have been illegal by a German Constitutional Court. No ruling has been made by such a court yet.

    The political leaders identified this loophole and came to an agreement for another treaty to close it.

    Then they realise that a substantive treaty cannot be entered into without a referendum in a number of EU States so they are looking for a way ahead within the present constitutional limits.

    So what do they do now? Wait for a decision in the German Constitutional Court or go ahead with proposals to extend the €750 fund?

    If the German Court represents a threat, the markets will not be re-assured by any further calming policy. They may as well get a stooge to launch an action in the GCC now and get the uncertainty out the way, if they have not already done so.

    Euro leaders seem to have their knickers totally in a twist.

  • Pete Baker


    And if the German Constitutional Court doesn’t reject the bailout mechanism I suspect there is also the threat of a legal challenge to the proposed treaty amendments in countries, such as Ireland, where a referendum may be required.

  • Alias

    An Irish referedum would only be required if a new treaty derogates a part of Irish sovereignty under Article 5 but not if that area is already derogated and the new treaty is not inconsistent with the aims and objectives of a ratified treaty.