Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Italy's period of grace & national sovereignty in the EU

The story of the European Commission and Italy’s budget deficit is reported in the Financial Times as follows:

According to officials, the Commission will on Wednesday officially declare Italy in breach of the pact's deficit provisions, and give the government two years to correct that situation. Brussels' recommendation is expected to be endorsed by EU finance ministers at a meeting on July 12.

Mr Berlusconi's government will then have to propose budget measures within the following four to six months, aimed at achieving the target set by the Commission.
The length of this procedure means it is unlikely that Italy will have to take measures to slash the deficit this year.

However, the government is already working on its long-term draft budget, which could be announced next week. The budget and the plan to be presented to the Commission later this year are likely to be similar, people close to the process said on Monday.

Full text @ Italy wins two years grace on budget
On the face of it a more stark exposure of just how much sovereignty has been ceded to the EU centre in Brussels would be hard to find - Italy must report to the European Commission and submit proposals for approval etc. etc.

Coming on the back of the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in referendums, the failure to agree on an EU budget, and the recent grumbling by some in Italy and elsewhere about the €uro / ECB being to blame for economic woes it is not surprising that the European Commission has taken a less prescriptive and bellicose line over the Italian budget deficit. As the European Commission has recently discovered national sovereignty is still a significant power to be reckoned with in Europe, and we are many, many decades away from the kind of European Superstate that is being advocated in a book being advertised over at A Fistful of Euros