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EU Summit On Economic Moves: “Get On With It” …

  • March 3rd, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

council-building.jpgThe heads of government of the European Union this week signed their new economic treaty (see EUAustralia Online, “EU summit agrees on finance pact”, 31.1.12),  aimed at securing fast and well coordinated economic management, along with adequate financial back-up for member countries under pressure from debt.

DO MORE FOR STABILITY

Meeting at Brussels (2-3.3.12), they also granted candidate status to Serbia, in the involved procedure for letting a new country into the EU; and they determined to decide in September, on admitting Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen area, meaning an extension of free movement of products and people across borders, within the EU system.

A report on conclusions of the summit issued by the European Council referred to pressure being imposed on national governments to make sure that they acted on joint decisions for handling the crisis over spending and debt.

While “measures taken to stabilise the situation in the Euro area are bearing fruit”, it said, “sustainable growth and jobs cannot be built on deficits and excessive debt levels.”

“The European Council endorsed the five priorities for 2012 set out in the Commission’s Annual Growth Survey. It looked at action that has to be taken at national level. Member States must make faster progress towards the targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy and step up efforts on the reforms taken up in the 2011 Country-Specific Recommendations. They are expected to indicate the measures they intend to take to that effect in their National Reform Programs and their Stability of Convergence Programs.”

FRICTION

Friction between the EU centre and member governments, over their spending and revenue-getting practices, came to a head with the crisis in Greece, and its near-default on public debt.

The country was the worst-placed out of a set of mainly smaller economies, especially Ireland and Portugal, but also Italy, that ran up huge deficits while interest rates were low, failing to manage adequate tax income, and missing out on adequate growth to catch up on the borrowing.

The new finance treaty, now signed, still has to be ratified by the parliaments of individual countries; in times of crisis, not the easiest task.

van-rompuy-wikipedia.jpgThe government leaders, meeting as the European Council, nevertheless gave a vote of support to their own program of expanding the EU: They appointed the first non-rotational, full-time President of the Council, the “President of Europe”, Herman Van Rompuy (picture) , a former Belgian Prime Minister, to a second term.

Reference

European Council, Brussels, “European Council – Conclusions”, DOC/12/4, 1-2.3.12.

Pictures     wikipedia

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