November 13, 2002
THE FOURTH WORLD:Germany faces EU budget penalty (BBC, 13 November, 2002)
Germany is facing the humiliating prospect of a formal reprimand from the European Commission for breaching rules on budget limits.
The Commission is to launch an excessive deficit procedure against Germany, said Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pedro Solbes, announcing the first step in a process that could lead eventually to big fines.
The news came as the Commission unveiled forecasts for feeble economic growth - just 0.8% - across the European Union in 2002, slashing its last forecast by more than half a percentage point.
In a grim assessment of the EU's economic health, it cut its forecast for growth in 2003 to 1.8%, sharply down on a prediction of 2.9% made in April. [...]
The Commission said Germany will breach a maximum 3% ceiling on budget deficits for member states both this year and next, clocking up deficits of 3.8% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2002 and 3.1% in 2003.
So, not only does Europe's economy not grow if we don't drag it along with us, but it's big players--Germany and France--are running deficits that are about twice ours, even though we're basically footing the West's entire military burden ourselves. Remind me again why anyone thinks Europe still matters? Posted by Orrin Judd at November 13, 2002 7:21 PM