Was some Brussels official having a bit of a private joke when they got Ireland and Greece to sit down and sign the Fiscal Compact Treaty side by side this morning? It’s probably just alphabetical order but it doesn’t look great. One country that will be put to the pin of its collar to comply with the treaty’s terms alongside another that probably has no intention of meeting its strictures.
Enda Kenny and Lucas Papademous sign the Fiscal Compact Treaty this morning
Anyway now that it is signed we have to weigh up the pros and cons and vote. This is my four minute long “cut out and keep guide” to the Fiscal Compact. You could listen to it or you could (perish the thought) read the thing.
However you feel about it, unlike any other EU Treaty (and I’ve had the misfortune to read them all) it’s short, it’s in English and you’ll understand it.
I reckon if you skip the preamble and just concentrate on the important articles III – VIII it’ll take about as long as listening to my report. This could be the first time we vote where a significant proportion of us have actually read what we are voting on …. couldn’t it Charlie McCreevy?
The Commission report “leaked” to the Bundestag ripped through yesterday’s news cycle like a dose of the salts. Some outlets gave it legs it never had, saying that it explicitly called for a mini-budget, which it doesn’t. Both Government and Opposition tried hard to outdo each other in their outrage. Laying into the commission for its indiscretion at once again allowing German MP’s the benefit of knowledge about us before us.
Once the commission apologised (for the timing of the reports publication and not its substance) more scavengers gathered to see what they could pick of the carcass. The whirlwind gathered force and mass as the day wore on, until it became as big a story as the EU summit.
There are important principles at stake here like peer reviewing of budgetary plans and simple courtesy of telling us first etc etc. But yesterday was all heat and no light. Because the simple fact of the matter was that we knew everything in that report two months before the Bundestag Finance Committee was “leaked” a copy.
The report’s author, Istvan Szekely, alongside representatives from the other two legs of the troika had told a packed press conference in Molesworth Street just about everything in the report back in January at the time of the fifth review.
But, as my Drivetime report might have illustrated, the fact that there was no breach of confidentiality couldn’t and shouldn’t be allowed to stand in the way of a lot of posturing from politicians of all parties.