The answer to John’s title question is, again, NO! As the respective spokesmen for European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, Olli Rehn, and the German finance ministry explain in this Irish Times report
“On behalf of the commission, the leaks are regrettable,” said Amadeu Altafaj Tardio. “We insist that this is a draft and that we have a legal obligation to share the information that we receive from the authorities in Dublin with the member states. This is actually our mandate.”
Mr Tardio said budget information must be shared among EU states as part of the €85 billion bailout loan deal Ireland struck with the European Commissions, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
“Ireland sees the same information from the troika about Greece, for example,” he said.
In a later statement, the commission’s representation in Ireland said the documents “were not final and were not signed” by the Government. “Decisions on the budget have not been taken yet.”
It said as a member of the troika, the commission has a mandate to share all the relevant information with the governments. “In the case of Germany, we understand there is a legal obligation to share this information with the budget committee of the Bundestag as it has a central role in deciding on these disbursements,” it added. “What happened there is the sole responsibility of the German authorities.”
Germany’s federal finance ministry confirmed yesterday that it had forwarded troika documents to the 41 member Bundestag budgetary committee in line with its legal obligation under European Financial Stability Facility guidelines.
“Without this obligation to inform the Bundestag we are unable to pay the next tranche. To free up the next tranche today in Brussels we had to inform yesterday about the EFSF legislation,” said a finance ministry spokesman. [added emphasis]
Regardless of what the International Representative for
west Belfast Louth may believe, that’s not “another example of how the sovereignty of this state has been handed over”.
And, as UTV reports
The Taoiseach, who is in Northern Ireland for a meeting of the North South Ministerial Council on Friday, insisted the plans are yet to be finalised.
“Let me confirm something to you, the Cabinet have made no decision in regard to the Budget,” Mr Kenny said. “It is on 6 December.
“It is only after the Cabinet make decisions that these things become a reality.”
The Irish Government remains free to set whatever budget it likes… but there are consequences. That’s the political reality of the crisis in the eurozone.
The politics of the bailout are embroiling the national politics of different European member states in ways that are likely to increase distrust and unhappiness in all of them. Nor is this going to get better without major institutional reforms at the EU level (assuming, of course, that the EU survives long enough to institute such reforms).
Skeptics of the need for ‘more Europe’ and in particular ‘more democratic Europe,’ have some excellent arguments. It’s extremely difficult to map out the political processes through which this could happen. But the ever-more-labyrinthine entwinement of different countries’ national economic politics with each other will be increasingly unbearable without some such changes. A Europe in which Germany is both the paymaster and the taskmaster is not going to be a happy Europe, either for Germany itself or for the countries entangled with it.
Indeed. Although the
politburo Frankfurt Group includes more than just German representatives.