Whether we like it or not, the Financial Transaction Tax and the European Stability Mechanism are a reality.
The EU moves in mysterious ways. In many of those ways, it moves like a mollusc on beta-blockers, but this can at times be to its advantage: the progress being so mind-numbingly slow, most people give up watching the claymation process.
But sharp-eyed Sloggers and dedicated leakers don’t – and hurrah for that. I’m indebted to one of them for drawing my attention to this latest confirmation of our worst fears. It’s from the latest set of FinMin minutes in Brussels, and these are the highlights:
1. Financial Transaction Tax.
‘At the June ECOFIN, it was concluded that it would not be possible to reach unanimous agreement on the FTT proposal. However, many Member States expressed an interest in moving ahead with this tax as a smaller group, through enhanced cooperation. In order to do this, at least 9 Member States must write to the Commission, formally requesting a Decision for enhanced cooperation, and setting out the scope and objectives of what they want to proceed with. A number of Member States have already formally written to the Commission, on this basis, asking to move ahead with FTT on the basis of the Commission’s proposal. Once the required minimum has submitted an official request, the Commission can present a decision for enhanced cooperation to be voted in ECOFIN through QMV.’
If I can just translate the above, “We have bribed, blackmailed and otherwise threatened 9 minnows to vote for it, after which it will go through on the nod anyway”.
2. The European Stability Mechanism (ESM)
Regular Sloggers will recognise this as the evolving successor to the EFSF, thus far designated Sort of Legal We’re Not Really Sure by the German Judges of Karlsruhe. They may also recall my post of a month ago on its draconian power to do anything it wants – up to and including selling every firstborn into slavery.
Well, as from tomorrow, it exists:
‘Please note that there will be an Inaugural Board of Governors Meeting of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) on Monday, 15.00 and an Inaugural Board of Directors Meeting of the ESM on Tuesday, 08.00.’
So by the time Merkel lands in Athens on Tuesday, the ESM will be ready for action. Interesting timing, nicht wahr?
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The EU continues on its way towards assured fiscal disaster, economic stagnation and social meltdown with all the insouciance of Mickey Mouse in the role of the sorcerer’s apprentice. But it remains able to do so because Member State governments (and MEPs dedicated to self-aggrandising tweets) talk a good game about opposing it, but do nothing.
This morning, David Cameron dismissed UKIP as “a joke, obviously” on the Marr Show, despite that organisation being more in tune with what ordinary Brits want to do about the EU than any of the Westminster Parties. Faced with an obviously autocratic Union harbouring totalitarian tendencies, the British Prime Minister refuses to countenance breaking away from it.
I suspect this says more about him than any other single character trait ever could. And given those traits involve supping with Newscorp, defending Jeremy Hunt, and engaging in donations-for-houses corruption, that really is saying a lot.