In his candid appraisal of the letter from Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy to the European Union meeting that starts Friday in Brussels, Dan Murphy makes clear that this summit will be different from the previous 20: This one is determined to override national sovereignty to save the euro. The core of the letter is the offer of the fatal alternative to the euro zone nations: Either give up essential sovereign control over your budgets to the EU, or destroy the euro.
The “Merkozy” letter said,
The current crisis has uncovered the deficiencies in the construction of the [European Monetary Union] mercilessly. We need to remedy those deficiencies…. We need more binding and more ambitious rules and commitments for the Euro area Member States. They should reflect that sharing a single currency means sharing responsibility for the Euro area as a whole. The building blocks of the new Stability and Growth Union are: A strengthened institutional architecture. Euro area governance needs to be substantially reinforced.
The problem, until now, has been the virtual impossibility of amending unanimously the various treaties under which the EU currently operates. With the clock ticking amid increasingly nervous financial markets, there is no time for that nicety. And so a way has been found: doing an end run around the process by using a little-known clause in the Schengen treaty to speed up implementation of the “strengthened institutional architecture” that is needed.
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Photo of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy: AP Images