EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This story about a proposed EU economic government was published by EurActiv on 6th July 2010.

The European Central Bank is asking EU finance ministers to consider changing the Lisbon Treaty in order to strengthen the European Commission’s hand in punishing countries for falling out of line with the bloc’s debt targets.

A high-level task force of EU finance ministers chaired by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has received a proposal from the European Central Bank. Under the plan, an EU country would have to prove to its neighbours that it does not deserve to be punished for exceeding the EU’s debt targets.

In other words, punitive measures, like cutting off deviant countries’ access to EU funding, would be thrown to the wind if a country were able to get a majority of member states to agree that the punishment is too harsh, EU sources said.

“If there is no Qualified Majority Vote (QMV) against it, then the proposal for sanctions would stand,” the source explained.

If agreed, the measure would be a veritable power grab for the European Commission as the burden of proof would fall on the country in question.

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