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Saturday, January 28, 2012 11:42 AM


Bickering Over Who's at the "Three-Speed" European Table


Last month, in an effort to snub the British and prime minister Cameron who would not go along with the Tobin Tax concept, French president Nicolas Sarkozy forced through a rule change that excluded non-euro member nations from sitting at the table.

This move has ruffled the feathers of Poland who thinks it should be at the table. Please consider Poland bristles at idea of ‘invitation-only’ summits

“If Poland does not obtain the appropriate status as a participant in meetings of the eurozone that give the feeling that we are participating in a certain part of the decision-making process… then it will be difficult for us to sign the fiscal pact,” Mr Tusk [Donald Tusk, the Polish prime minster] said this week. “We will not accept such a model.”

The principal opponent of the Polish move, diplomats said, has been France, where president Nicolas Sarkozy has long viewed the new pact as a way to create a “two-speed Europe”, with eurozone countries moving into a tighter subgroup as the remaining 10 nations gradually become less integrated with their brethren in the single currency.

French objections centre around Poland’s unwillingness to be subject to the treaty’s main elements – a series of debt and deficit limits that will be enforced by fines, which would now only affect eurozone members – and to contribute to the eurozone’s new €500bn bail-out system. Without shouldering such burdens, France has argued, Poland should not be allowed at the table.

Last year, Mr Tusk angrily rebuffed a Franco-German “pact for the euro” which would have had eurozone members commit to budget and economic measures that went beyond current EU strictures. Eventually, the agreement was renamed the “euro-plus pact” and Poland, along with some other non-euro countries, became signatories.
Three Speed Europe

Clearly we have the Euro Pact, the Euro-Plus Pact, and the 27-nation EU-Pact. That sounds like three tables to me. Poland demanded the topic be debated on Monday in a gathering of European heads of state. The Financial Times says the "prospect could lead to another summit that stretches late into the night."

I say count on it. If there is another disagreement on a major issue will there be a 4th table? Meanwhile, I have to ask why the British would want to be at any table.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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