To Veto, or not to Veto?

Radoslav Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, says two important things. He fears German inactivity more than more conventional threats because it would lead to a Eurozone collapse. He also says it must be possible to govern Europe and suggests that the veto right of individual countries should be removed. This would mean that Germany, which Sikorski calls an indispensible nation in Europe, could form coalitions and vote through their decisions, ie govern. Other powerful members could do the same later if things would change. If it becomes possible to govern Europe, markets would be pleased and interest rates would go down to alleviate the debt crisis.

I did not find the information that Europe should be governable through the removal of the veto in Sikorski’s recent Financial Times paper but in today’s editorial, he might have said it at his talk on Monday. It would of course be a fundamental change where more influence would be ascribed to the countries in Europe which do well rather than to all countries equally. More function, less solidarity. An “economic government” could be formed with such a 17 or 27 “party” system. Majority coalitions would form and be subject to revision according to country performance.

I submitted a post in January this year on my blog that discussed a theoretical construct of “influence points” in the EU that would give incentives to participate in a transfer union, ie you get “paid” for contributing money to the EU. It would perhaps be easier to remove the veto function for members? In practice the veto function was removed already for Greece and Italy which just had to do what they were told in order for the Eurozone to survive. Right now it does not seem like a transfer union is possible, Germany does not have that much money anyhow, but rather a pact where fiscal control and austerity was enforced harder. One thing is clear, it is difficult to find solutions with the current set-up of the Union. It is rather like it is constructed not to work and the markets don’t believe in it anymore.

If I have understood the concept of an “economic government” of the type proposed by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008, it would be superimposed onto EU in the Eurozone. That means it would be independent of the Commission, The Council and the Parliament. The question is then how many countries of the original 17 that will remain there after the smoke clears. Spain has gotten the good word lately. Italy is on/off and Greece is likely to disappear.

A system for the Eurozone where you get something extra for good performance would create a national goal that would help motivate people more than just doing well for their own country. Participation would be more serious and competitive. Paying large sums of money without getting anything for it does not seems to work, although people are speaking for solidarity in times of crisis.

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