Thursday, August 24, 2006

Stupidity Pact

It now looks like Germany will manage to keep the public sector deficit under 3% this year, which means they will comply with the rules for being part of Euroland. Well, actually it would mean that they would comply with half of the rules, which I suppose is a good start: for some reason all the news sources writing about this development forget about the requirement to keep total government debt under 60% of GDP.

So now that they are on track to get onto the right track, perhaps we can forget that nasty business about France and Germany deciding not to bother punishing themselves for breaching the stability pact. I don't think it's excessively cynical to speculate that, had France and Germany managed to stay within the limits of the stability pact, the EU would not have hesitated to threaten to levy huge fines on smaller countries breaching those same rules.

It has turned out that the stupidity pact, far from operating in an automatic (and brutal) fashion, (as the German negotiators wanted, ironically) is a political tool of the EU establishment, with the potential to totally undermine the political independence of any peripheral country that falls foul of its rules. At the same time, it hasn't managed to ensure anything resembling fiscal discipline, as the "under 60%" link above, shows.

Another huge problem with Euroland is the absence of Norway, which makes the Scandinavian part of the map look like a huge flaccid penis, pointing ominously at Denmark. Whoever was responsible for moving Scania around 100km north didn't exactly make that situation any better.

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