Europe could strengthen its monetary union by giving European politicians the power to declare a sovereign state bankrupt and take over its fiscal policy, the former head of the European Central Bank said on Thursday in unveiling a bold proposal to salvage the euro. (...)
The monetary union has always defied economic principles, because the euro was launched ahead of European fiscal or political union. This has caused strains for countries running huge budget deficits - namely Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy - that have led to financing difficulties and over-stretched banking systems.
For the European Union, a fully fledged United States of Europe where nation states cede a large chunk of fiscal authority to the federal government appears politically unpalatable, Trichet said.
An alternative is to activate the EU federal powers only in exceptional circumstances when a country's budgetary policies threaten the broader monetary union, he said.
"Federation by exception seems to me not only necessary to make sure we have a solid Economic and Monetary Union, but it might also fit with the very nature of Europe in the long run. I don't think we will have a big (centralized) EU budget," Trichet said in a speech before the Peterson Institute of International Economics here.
"It is a quantum leap of governance, which I trust is necessary for the next step of European integration," he said. (...)
Trichet said the building blocks already are in place for moving ahead with his fiscal plan.
Countries have agreed to surveillance of each other's budgets and they have agreed to levy fines on countries that run excessive budget deficits, giving them fiscal oversight authority.
The next step would be to take a country into receivership when its political leaders or its parliament cannot implement sound budgetary policies approved by the EU. The action would have democratic accountability if it were approved by the European Council of EU heads of states and the elected European Parliament, he said.
The idea earned a warm reception from leading economists and prominent Europeans attending the session.
Aparentemente, a ideia de Trichet é dar ao Parlamento Europeu e ao Conselho Europeu (aquela reunião - normalmente de 6 em 6 meses - entre o presidente de França e os primeiros-ministros dos outros países da UE) poder para assumir a gestão das finanças de algum país-membro se o acharem necessário. Ele diz que isso é "democrático"; mas será?"It is a very radical proposal, couched as a modest step," said Richard Cooper, international economist at Harvard.
Caio Koch Weser, former German economics minister, said he found it "very attractive" because it addresses the problem of a strong European Central Bank, a weak European Commission which acts as the EU's executive branch, and a confused European Council, which provides political leadership.
Para mim, os habitantes de cada país (ou, pelo menos, os seus representantes) decidirem a politica económica de cada país é (relativamente) democrático; o conjunto dos habitantes da UE (ou, pelo menos, os seus representantes) decidirem a politica económica do conjunto da UE também seria (relativamente) democrático; já não me parece que fosse "democrático" a politica económica de algum (ou alguns) país(es) especifico(s) ser decidida por órgãos supostamente representativos do conjunto dos habitantes da UE - mesmo que aceitássemos que o Conselho Europeu e o PE são efectivamente representativos dos povos da UE (o que já de sí é duvidoso), estaria-se a violar o principio do governo exercido pelos governados, já que os "governados" seriam os cidadãos do países A, B e C e o "governo" seriam os representantes dos cidadãos dos países A, B, C, D, E, F...
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