The French Presidential election is weighing heavy on the European Union.
One of the candidates wants to re-negotiate the European Economic and Monetary Union's treaty on stability, coordination and governance and is trying to win over some of his political allies. This position comes at the worst time for Europe, just as this text and the European Central Bank's intervention seems to be re-establishing confidence in the European economy and to be bringing calm to the financial markets.
Signed on 2nd March 2012, for the very first time, this treaty organises the euro's economic pillar which Jacques Delors called for on the creation of the single currency. Far from being perfect it still has to be completed, but it is in line with all the European Treaties which ban deficit and public debt. We might criticise it for not having gone far enough, for not having helped growth initiatives enough, but it is a preamble, demanded by the Europen Parliament which approved its content in the legislative "six packs" which has been applicable since 13th December 2011 and will remain so. By solemnly confirming a Budgetary Pact and greater supervision of the commitments made by its Member States and by enabling a progressive, concerted reduction of the public debt and deficits, it is a message that goes out to the world: Europeans are now serious about their management. Signed by 25 Member States, it will enter into force on January 1st 2013 at the latest, as soon as 12 euro zone states (out of 17) have ratified it. Most of them have already said that this is want they want. France might find itself, and for the first time since 1950, in the situation of not having ratified a fundamental European treaty.
Since the French are committed to a democratic exercise that will lead them to elect their future president, is it not time to tell them the truth? For example that it is not by spending that growth will be revived, but via a more serious management of public spending? And that they must also make sure they do not take any decision that might affect the economy of their European partners and that of the euro zone negatively, and that generally, European integration does not go together with unilateral positions or by blustering? Or finally, that this time, France will not be inevitable and that its decision, which of course will be a sovereign one, might lead to rejection on the part of its main partners in a crisis that could be much more serious?