Sunday 21 March 2010

Olli Rehn interview makes big news in Germany

Olli Rehn, Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner of the EU, is making big news in Germany with this interview published in the Sunday newspaper WELT am SONNTAG.

The main point of Rehn (on the right on the photo, sitting with Greek prime minister George Papandreou) in the interview is that he wants the EU to be involved already at the planning stage of the establishment of national budgets to prevent excessive deficits. He also criticised Germany's budget plan for 2010.

What is not clear from the interview is which legal consequences this proposal would have. The only consequence Rehn mentions for bad budget plans is that this would result in "very serious discussions" in the Eurogroup - whatever that means.

This interview has received wide attention in Germay, including the top online news platform Spiegel Online, the top TV news Tagesschau (video of the 14:00 edition), national newspaper platform Sü, economic newspaper Handelsblatt and others (e.g. here, here). The Austrian newspaper Der Standard has also taken up the matter.

The Greek crisis has made EU politics hard news, and European politicians like Rehn are apparently using this opportunity to strengthen the public agenda setting power of the Commission - let's see where his proposal will lead.