Written by Miguel Portas
Friday, 10 September 2010 10:09
Disappointing those who wish to see a plot of knife and bowl in the next budget, Brussels has sought to ensure that it does not succeed.
From 2011 it will be created a "European semester" to ensure consistency between the European economic policy and national budgets. The idea is as good as bad to their achievement.
First things first:
The Union, in particular the eurozone, suffers of lack of economic coordination. Consequently, I accept the setting of targets for deficits, for example. They must be equal for all countries, nor the convergence time should be independent of baseline in each country. But it is normal to share commitments. Personally, I should include, even, new targets mandatory. Beginning by goals on jobs creation ...
What is already unacceptable is that national parliaments are dispossessed of their power to say how they want to reach the targets and balances. If the deficit target will be met by raising taxes (and what kind of taxes), or reducing costs (and which) or through a mix of both. And as the budget is linked with growth. Here emerges the question of democracy.
Yet the decision is much more than a putative prior approval on the proposed budget that governments present to the Members. Actually, the "coordination" is defined as "guidelines" for each budget that meets both goals - the program stability and future "national reform” programs.
The EU presidency is insisting that the 27 did not address the "details" of the items in concrete. Nor need. She keeps the fillet steak and leaves the amendments on details for the MPs. Sócrates and Passos Coelho are henceforth condemned to disagree furiously ... about the money for a fountain in Vila Pouca de Aguiar or the hundredth eighth roundabout in São João da Madeira.
However ... is vanishing the right of leading budget or taken decisions on guidelines and alternative ways to meet their commitments. If this is not an expropriation of democracy, I do not know what that is.
In defence of the new method we heard that each government will now be able to comment on the budget proposals from the others 26. It is not true. In the EU there are some countries more equal than others. The Germans will always say to the Greeks what they should do, but the reverse it will be not true. The same goes for the penalties associated with failures. It is not excluded that such penalties be executed cutting in the allocation of European funds. Then, we will have a mix of human stupidity with anti-democratic bashing. Well, they know how to do it.
Article originally published in the weekly "Sol"