Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Eurozone: Our new ”economic government”

The German chancellor Angela Merkel and the French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who met in Paris yesterday 16 August, propose no eurobonds or treaty changes in the forseeable future.

They are going to enhance economic growth, improve competitiveness and combat public debt by asking for two eurozone summits annually, to be chaired by a person nominated for two and a half years. They propose the current president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy as the chair of these summits.

Consequently the informal Euro Group, already eclipsed by eurozone summits 'ad hoc', would permanantly move even farther outside the limelight.

Public debt is the hard core of their proposals. The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) should be strengthened by introducing a ”Golden Rule” of budget balance (Schuldenbremse) as a constitutional rule in every member state of the euro area, within a year.

Internationally, France and Germany want to impose a tax on financial transactions.

Both leaders describe their proposals as ”economic government” (gouvernement économique, Wirtschaftsregierung).

Merkel and Sarkozy did not even begin to address the lack of democratic legitimacy of their intergovernmental ”government”, or the absence of public support for its maze of treaty provisions, secondary legislation, intergovernmental coordination and peer pressure, political declarations and international agreements.

Can we expect the financial and stock markets to regain confidence?

President Sarkozy does not envision any new increase in the capacity of the European Financial Stability Facility EFSF to intervene.


Zone euro : conférence de presse franco-allemande (video 48:29 min)

Deutschland und Frankreich für europäische Wirtschaftsregierung (Artikel, 16 August 2011), which refers back to the old communiqué 7 August 2011:

Deutsch-französisches Kommuniqué zur aktuellen Situation in der Euro-Zone (7 August 2011), about implementing the decisions by the eurozone summit 21 July 2011 and welcoming recent measures by the governments of Italy and Spain.


Bilaterally, in the spirit of the Franco-German Elysée Treaty the two countries continue efforts to harmonise their fiscal and economic policies aiming for greater convergence. They have set their sights on uniform tax rates for corporations, with detailed proposals due by 2013.

Ralf Grahn