German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pushing a scheme that would purport to give an unelected official within the increasingly powerful but unpopular European Union the authority to veto the budgets of elected national governments. If approved, the EU would have more power over its formerly sovereign members than even the U.S. federal government has been able to usurp from American states.
Speaking to the German Parliament before an EU summit on October 18, Merkel declared that it was time for the emerging Brussels-based super-state to have even more powers. "We have made good progress on strengthening fiscal discipline with the fiscal pact but we are of the opinion, and I speak for the whole German government on this, that we could go a step further by giving Europe real rights of intervention in national budgets," she told the Bundestag lower house, drawing swift criticism.
Merkel acknowledged that, “unfortunately,” she knew not all EU member governments were ready to surrender the power of the purse — one of the most important policy tools — to the unelected so-called “eurocrats” in Brussels. However, despite the opposition to the plan, the German government will "continue to push for it," she proclaimed.
The proposed official with power to approve or veto national budgets would be the European Economic and Monetary Commissioner. According to the plans currently being advanced, the EU would forbid any member state from adopting a budget, including taxing or spending, that violated continental rules and regulations.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament — not exactly a legislature in the traditional sense of the term — would be strengthened as part of the scheme. Advocates of closer integration have deceptively framed the lack of EU accountability to citizens as an excuse to allow the body, and the EU itself, by extension, to usurp ever greater powers over nation states and citizens.
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Photo: German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a session of the German Federal Parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Oct. 18, 2012: AP Image