Sunday, May 16, 2010

Who was Schauble's 'Alternate' last Sunday?

The Banque de France explains the structures of Ecofin on a pdf file from which the following is a quote: ===== LEGAL BASIS In accordance with the provisions of Article 114(2) of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on 1 January 1999 the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC) replaced the Monetary Committee, whose primary tasks it took over. These consist in: o preparing the ECOFIN Council (Economic and Financial Affairs Council comprising the Economics and Finance Ministers of the European Union – EU); o drafting opinions for the ECOFIN Council and European Commission; o keeping under review the economic and financial situation of EU Member States. The Treaty’s provisions were expanded on by two Decisions adopted by the European Council in Vienna on 21 December 1998 concerning the EFC’s statute and composition. The Statutes were revised in June 2003 in the context of EU enlargement. COMPOSITION Each Member States appoints two representatives, one from the national administration (generally the Ministry of Finance) and the other from the national central bank (NCB). Two alternates are appointed on the same basis (one from the administration, the other from the NCB). In addition, the Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) each appoint two representatives and two alternates. ===== Reports as to what occurred last Sunday seem to vary as to when German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was taken ill, either at the meeting of ECOFIN or en route during the flight. One report states that his deputy was not delegated to attend as he was not from the leading coalition party in Mrs Merkel's CDU and therefore Thomas de Maiziere, Germany's interior minister was to take his place, but was he the properly nominated alternate? We have been informed that the UK representative Alistair Darling, whose official status after having lost the British election could also be open to some question, did not support the EU emergency funding put in place by the eurogroup countries. Being the non-democratic EU, the workings and deliberations of the Committee are all shadowed in secrecy making it difficult to determine whether the correct proceedings were followed, or indeed whether a proper quorum existed after the illness of the German representative. Can the majority voting system have properly prevailed given the uncertain status of the German representative or his alternate and the No vote of the UK? Is Germany really to sign off on a bill some reports indicate may rise to 180 billion US Dollars? It should be an interesting week in the German Parliament!



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