Monday, 18 April 2011

Running a Marathon of Legislation

I´ve never run a marathon. It would take me a long time and I take my hat off to those who trained for months and then struggled exhausted over the finishing line after 5, 6 or 7 hours yesterday.

Last week I counted up that I have spent over 120 hours since September in meetings with five other MEPs on the so-called "economic governance" package. This is the new legislation that seeks to enforce control on government debt and deficit levels. Tomorrow we will vote.

The socialists are still holding on to their line that money governments borrow for "investment" is not really debt. I disagree, unless there is movement this afternoon it will go to a vote.

As the panic across the Eurozone has increased so has the panic to find a solution. The other five MEPs all use the Euro as their currency. Every couple of hours into our marathon negotiations I have found myself reminding them that ten countries in the European Union do not use the Euro. Other countries will be able to comment on each others´ budgets but cannot dictate them. Countries within the Eurozone can be fined for running up excess debts - but not for those of us outside.

My own report will call for much greater transparency and independence of budgets and forecasts (similar to the OBR in the UK). I have tabled a suggestion that the EU budget should be presented annually and discussed alongside that of individual countries. If countries are expected to be transparent with their money so should the EU. I hope I win this vote.

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