So much for the “six pack,” the sprawling fiscal reform package that was supposed to rein in government debt and prevent a recurrence of the crisis currently threatening the euro.
Hungary placed the six pack atop the priority list for its six month European Union presidency, and worked doggedly to try to forge a compromise with the European parliament before its term ended last week.
The Hungarians were not the only ones keen to close a deal: Herman Van Rompuy, the European council president, spent months in tortured negotiations leading a task force that developed the rules, which would allow Brussels to fine governments that do not put their fiscal houses in order. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has promised the Bundestag she will not participate in a new eurozone bailout fund, set to go into effect in mid-2013, without the new budget controls in place first.
But as Poland takes the EU’s presidential reins, it appears intent on dialling back the urgency. Polish diplomats will resume negotiations with MEPs in Strasbourg this week. But people involved in the talks say it is now impossible that a deal could be finalised before September – if one gets done at all. Read more