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2011 the Year of European Public accounts

Whilst the Euro survived the trial it faced accused of inadequate economic governance, growth now seems to be making a tentative return and European solidarity has temporarily calmed the financial storm, hence nothing could be worse than giving up now.

Due to circumstances economic integration has moved forwards decidedly in 2010. Four new supervisory bodies have been created, the European Financial Facility illustrated European determination to avoid the collapse of any of the euro area States, everywhere tough programmes to reduce spending and public debt have been launched, but the hardest share of the work still has to be done.

At the beginning of the year in Brussels the control of national budgets is due to be introduced via the "European Semester". Sanctions are planned for States which contravene the common rules. Impartial, real supervision of Member States' finances is due to be organised. To avoid any doubt about Europe's determination, the return of the confidence crisis and pressure from the markets - which is often unfair - this work must be completed as quickly as possible and the European Council must get down to matters without delay.

The public accounts of every Member State must be examined thoroughly ie consolidated including all spending together with any associated social expenditure. It will not be enough just to look at the 2012 draft budgets and it would be appropriate to draw up an exact picture at the beginning of the year for the completed 2010 budgets and those ongoing in 2011 - and we shall have to accept the conclusions of this.

If the 27 really want to emerge from the crisis, it is time for everyone to put their cards on the table, to risk transparency, which is the only way to build confidence again. Hence the Heads of State and government have a particularly problematic year ahead. Let us hope then that in spite of upcoming elections, the promises which are being challenged by populists who lie in wait, ready to pounce and the pressure of a worried public opinion that they can finally turn 2011 into the European Year of Public Accounts.