Euro-MPs accuse France, Germany of 'diktat' over budgets

20th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

The European parliament's main political groups Wednesday accused France and Germany of imposing their will on the rest of the European Union regarding sanctions against deficit offenders.

Members of the parliament's four main groups -- conservatives, Socialists, liberals and Greens -- took the floor to denounce a compromise accord announced Monday by President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel at their talks in Deauville, France.

"It is a step backwards, a Franco-German diktat," said Austrian conservative Othmar Karas, coordinator of the European People's Party (EPP) that groups members of the ruling French UMP party and Merkel's CDU.

Karas accused Paris and Berlin of "emptying the substance" of the EU Stability and Growth Pact aimed at setting a ceiling on EU public deficits.

The head of the parliament's Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), former Belgian premier Guy Verhofstadt, called on the European Union "to undo the casino compromise" -- a reference to Deauville's famed casinos.

He accused Merkel and Sarkozy of watering down existing automatic sanctions and dubbed the German leader's stance "incomprehensible."

Monday's Franco-German compromise broke deadlocked negotiations the same day in Luxembourg between the bloc's 27 finance ministers.

The pair said France and Germany wanted to amend the EU Lisbon treaty, introduced last year, by 2013, cracking down on deficits in order to assure financial stability.

Socialist Euro-MP Pervenche Beres said "this Franco-German agreement further complicates the situation" while Greens MEP Pascal Canfin said the compromise created a "lose-lose" situation for Europe.

The compromise notably calls for the creation of a permanent safety fund for countries in difficulty, a French demand that was formerly opposed by Berlin.

France for its part acceded to a German demand to deprive offender nations from voting rights.

© 2010 AFP

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