Europe must suffer

By Julia Pastor, in Madrid | Something is moving in Europe. The meetings among its leaders are multiplying. On Friday, French president Nicolas Sarkozy met with Cameron and on Monday, he will meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel. UK’s deputy prime minister Nick Clegg visited Spain’s next president, Mariano Rajoy, on Friday. The main issue of all these meetings is the rescue of the euro and Europe. The final solution, hopefully, will be elucidated in yet another meeting: the upcoming European summit that will take place on December 8 and 9.

Nicolas Sarkozy started warming up on Thursday, with a significant speech in which he announced that, along with Germany, he had the intention of pushing ‘the re-founding of Europe’. The French President assured that

“he will do everything in his power so that France and Germany converge and be the reference point from which the Union can be strengthened,” and that he will do so by “applying the practical lessons learned from the crisis.”

On Friday, Angela Merkel has insisted about the Franco-German proposal and has said that

“we can’t keep on jumping from one crisis to another, each worse than the previous one.”

Faced with the US position, that continues to favour growth by stretching the Quantitive Easing machine, and consequently promoting an ever growing debt, European leaders intend to put a brake on the debt ‘bubble’ by making sacrifices. José Luis M. Campuzano, analyst of Citi in Spain, comments that

“Sarkozy was very clear in his argument in favor of Europe as a need and not just as an option.”

This is how it has been summarised in the Spanish press the sacrifices that the European countries will have to accept if they want to save the economy of the European Union:

  • The reform of the imperfect Treaty of Lisbon to re-found and re-think the organisation of Europe with the purpose of establishing a real economic governance.
  • The reform, also, of the Schengen Agreement. The principle of free circulation and the lack of control of the outer boarders cannot continue.
  • Solidarity, but with discipline. According to Sarkozy, it must be absolutely clear that all the countries in the euro zone will support one another, but more solidarity will require greater discipline.
  • The greater discipline shall be established in the Budget Golden Rule that will deal with the public deficit and shall be included in the laws of each country. The sanctions will be faster, more automatic and more severe for those who do not keep their commitment.
  • The decision making will be approved by qualified majority and not by unanimity as has been the case thus far in the European summits where “the movement toward greater supranational control” was rejected.
  • The reform of the social model so as to guarantee pensions.
  • Respect for the role and independence of the ECB.

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