Sunday, March 6, 2011

EPP vs PES = ?

(this is the second and final edition of this post)

German-French Competitiveness Pact: EPP & Socialist summits in Helsinki and Athens

1) As the following text from "Athens VS Helsinki – two opposite ways for Europe", PES.org, 24/02/2011 explains re the EPP Helsinki "Summit" and the PES Athens Leaders Meeting:

"... However, the agenda set by the two parties reflects two opposite visions concerning EU’s future. While PES leaders will focus on a presenting a new growth model, based on fairness, jobs and growth, the EPP will keep the debate around the 'Competitiveness Pact' – a way to push Europe deeper into the crisis, by cutting wages, unemployment benefits and public services. .."

2) On Saturday morning the news from Helsinki from Friday's intra-EPP discussion (see Bloomberg's "Merkel Rebuffs Bid by Ireland's Kenny to Cut EU Bailout Costs") showed that A. Merkel has the choice: a) Win next fed election or b) Make European history but of course there exists the possibility A Merkel, via her tactics, will lose next German fed election as well as "destroy" EUrope!

3) The EPP Press Release re the Helsinki meeting is out: EPP's 5 points to bring forward a competitiveness pact

It seems that the gloves are off:

“I also hope that the Socialist Prime Ministers in the EU will be willing to consider our proposals, since they opted not to endorse (by their absence, minus the host) the populist positions announced at the meeting of second-tier Socialist politicians in Athens yesterday,” Martens added.
(my bolds)


In IV I note: "We need to ensure fiscal discipline and address excessive imbalances within the EU"
My comment: Then they should "dare" propose Economic & Political Union, IMO.

IMO, the 5 points are a conservative proposals by Conservatoves for a "conservative" European Union.

I also note in point IV:
"... Improving competitiveness is key to future economic growth, which means that the euro area. Member States must be ready to put all their measures up for analysis, even if they fall within national competences. This shall be achieved through both structural reforms and fiscal consolidation, in order to improve our competitiveness and strengthen the prospects for economic growth. .."

In point I:

"... Member States need to continue to make efforts to return to sustainable public finances. We encourage a periodical re-evaluation of EU and international assistance, which may lead to possible amendments of the packages in place. This can be pursued upon reaching agreed benchmarks. Possible measures to ensure the continued successful implementation of the Greek and Irish programmes should also fall under this category. We recognize that measures taken as part of consolidation plans need certain adjustments at national levels"

"The PES in Athens call for new EU economic direction" that contains their declaration.

It also has an intro that includes:

PES President, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen welcomed the strong declaration. He stated that; "The people of Europe deserve to understand that there is a clear choice in how the European Union develops. Our plan will create 8 million jobs. The Conservative plan will only increase unemployment. People should remember, it is not Europe that is to blame, it is the Conservative majority".
(my bolds)

The PES declaration (PDF) starts with: "“Europe is in the wrong hands. Our alternative to a Conservative Europe: a strategy for jobs, fair growth and social progress"

5) The "Community method" and the European Commission

The participation of EU Commissioners in party political events (eg Helsinki & Athens yesterday) of the political parties/groups that nominated them (and often come from):

a) Emphasizes the political nature of the "College" but
b) IMO also undermines the role of the European Commission in the pact/reform process, esp the so called "Community method".

Come to think of it, the EU Commission's College of Commissioners is like a wide coalition government (the members belong to and in any case were nominated from at least three political groups - EU political parties or coalitions thereof, the EPP, the S&D coalition (or its main member, PES) and the ALDE coalition (or its main member, ELDR). Is that good or bad, policy proposing and policy administration wise?

6) On multiple-speeds in the EU

It is kind of obvious that no matter what the decision reached in the 1st Eurozone Summit on 11/4 or the European Council a few days later, not all of the 27 will be moving with it. It may be the Eurozone 17 or more than the 17 or fewer than the 17.

Will that mean a multi-speed EU?
Well, EMU and Schengen, as well as the Social Protocol of the Maastricht Treaty (that applied to 11 of the then 12 members) already set up multi-speeds.
And alas, IMO, more multi-speeding will continue. Eg as long as the UK remains (alas) Eurosceptic or in the EU and many other factors.

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Nick

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