Sunday, October 26, 2003
The Pact

The European Union's Growth and Stability Pact has proved that, if reality undermines laws, laws give way. Both France and Germany, struggling with economic stagnation and reform programmes, have proved unwilling to apply a Bruning scourge to their electorates. The European Commission has discovered that EU law cannot be applied to the larger countries and that, therefore, its enshrined role as guardian of the 'European interest' is limited by their national interests.

This is more evidence that power within the EU is shared between the institutions located in Brussels and the capitals of the Big Five, especially Berlin and Paris. This also explains why the smaller countries wish to combine and obtain a voice within this intergovernmental/institutional mix. However, this fusion of nation-states and supranational institutions is inherently unstable: it is subjected to an ideology of integration that hopes to acquire more powers at the supranational level and undermined by the centripetal demands of Member States that take unilateral action in order to safeguard their own interests. The integrationist dynamic is accompanied by a history of ossified compromises that are gradually eroding the productive elements of the European economy.

Economic, social or political reform at the European level does not exist. These programmes are carried out within individual countries and if, EU law proves an obstacle, it is circumvented. Perhaps economic stagnation has demonstrated the limits of the European project and we have seen the high tide of integration in practice as politicians and poliymakers act at a national level to reform their economies, although it may take a lot longer for the political wave to recede and unravel.

(26th October 2003, 12.57)


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