While it accounts for only six of the sixteen articles in the “Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance” which is due to come into force in the autumn, the European “Fiscal Compact” is arousing contradictory expectations and attracting conflicting criticism with regard to the concepts of stability, sovereignty and austerity. Yves Bertoncini tries to explore these critics in greater depth, in a Notre Europe’s viewpoint bases on three main statements:
1. A Compact symbolising the Europeans’ economic and financial interdependence
2. A safeguard controlling the abuse of public accounts, not their substance
3. European disciplines that are not necessarily a synonym for austerity
He underlines that it is because they failed to manage their public or private accounts and their competitiveness strategies properly that Spain, Greece, Ireland and Portugal today are having to conjugate restricted sovereignty with enforced austerity. And concludes that in adopting and implementing the “Fiscal Compact”, the Europeans are being urged once again to illustrate the virtues of the old proverb “prevention is better than cure”.