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Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Little to Show for It?

This description is not mine, but comes from the Economist. In an article rhetorically titled 'Call This a Success?', the magazine points to two particular areas of mirky progress: immigration and the stabilisation pact.

The summit of European Union leaders in Seville in Spain ended with only limited progress on the main agenda item—immigration policies—and setbacks over the establishment of a European military force and the management of the euro. But all of these issues pale into insignificance compared with the main challenge facing the EU in the coming months: enlargement.

THE leaders of the European Union (EU) came to their summit in Seville vowing to “do something” about immigration. They left claiming success. They always do. But the reality is that the results at Seville were less than impressive, not just over immigration but also over other important issues such as defence and the management of the euro.

There were other setbacks for the EU at Seville. The “stability and growth” pact which attempts to ensure fiscal discipline among members of the euro zone was watered down further, as France was, in essence, allowed to wriggle free from an earlier commitment to balance its budget by 2004. And efforts to introduce majority voting at future gatherings of European leaders were also blocked, again by France, which suspects that it would eventually be forced into unpalatable concessions over agricultural reform.
Source: The EconomistLINK

As is becoming customary these days the economist goes to the heart of some of the EU's most pressing problems only to end on a note of cautious optimism that seems curiously out of keeping with the tenor of the rest of the article. Or am I alone in thinking that a lot of this movement around the stability pact marks the begining of the slippery slope for the non-political ECB?

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