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Wealth Crisis: EU’s Early Warning Force

  • November 13th, 2008
  • Posted by 7thmin

brunojulien2.JPGAn Ambassador of the European Union, Bruno Julien (Picture), says the world financial crisis has shown that its member countries need to work much closer together as a bloc — and they have made progress in that direction, in the last month.

Mr Julien, European Commission Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, said (6.1108), the EU was now setting up a structure for permanent monitoring of financial activity, to coordinate and develop more collective decisions.

“The member countries should act together, or else their actions will not be effective,” he said.

The financial collapse in Iceland had shown it was important to coordinate action, so no single national system was exposed on its own.

Within the European Union, at the time of the crisis in Iceland, Hungary and other member states in Eastern Europe had been able to get EU help.

Foreshadowing a new gathering of the European Council on the world situation, he said a team had already been set up in Brussels to prepare information for “preventive activities and collective action” to deal with trouble in the markets.

The monitoring team would be “permanently fed information by member states, to rapidly check what was happening”, he said.

It would be “an efficient system to find the right direction”, and would help prevent delayed action, as had occurred last month in the United States, where plans hastily put together by the Bush Administration were held up going through the Congress — with “disastrous impacts on public perceptions.”

Mr Julien said the world down-turn had emphasised the need for Europe to put in place the proposed Lisbon Treaty, to consolidate its organisation.

The Treaty that would implement the principles of a proposed European “constitution” would reduce the size of the executive Commission; speed up legislation by committing many decisions to majority voting, in a re-weighted system of balloting among the member countries; and appoint both a single EU President, and a High Representative to act as joint foreign minister.

It has been approved by all the member governments and already ratified by most, but is held up by a vote against it, in a referendum in Ireland, held on 12.6.08, (See EUAustralia, “Heavyweights tackle Brussels stalemate”, 23.6.08; “EU Heads: We’ll fight it out another day”, 21.6.08).

Ambassador Julien said this month, in Brisbane, further changes in the much-amended plan were expected, so that a new version could be put to the Irish people in a fresh referendum.

He said a more coordinated EU system, under the Lisbon Treaty, would provide better stability, specially through the appointment of continuing leadership at the top.

Problems with the rotating Presidency of the European Council were demonstrated by concerns about the replacement of Nicolas Sarkozy of France, in January, by the Czech Prime Minister, Mirek Topolanek, seen as “Euro-sceptic”.

In such cases the EU could see time spent on efforts to reverse regulations it had already put into law.

(Mr Sarkozy has been quoted, to say he was satisfied his Czech successor was taking a “reasonable” position on the EU).


Sarkozy fully supports Czech EU presidency, Prague Daily Monitor, Prague, 31.10.08;, (13.11.08)