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28 Oct, 2010 12:54

Improving economic governance in EU inevitable – MEP

Adopting changes to the Lisbon Treaty, which would impose new deficit and debt rules on EU member states is an inevitable step to “increasing economic and political union,” said British MEP, Gerard Batten.

He believes the deal, introduced on Thursday at the EU summit in Brussels, is a move that has been long-needed to improve the union’s fiscal discipline.

It just so happens that the financial crisis actually gives [EU leaders] the excuse to try and speed the process up and make it happen,” Batten added.

Germany and France, who were behind the proposal, face the challenge of convincing other EU leaders to adopt the plan, which calls for strict penalties, including the loss of voting rights, for countries which break budget rules.

However, Batten believes that although the proposal moots strict sanctions, it is unlikely any members would be expelled from the union.

I don’t think you are going to see countries thrown out of the EU, because it is the one thing that the EU wants to do – keep on expanding and it certainly doesn’t want to contract,” Batten said.

Critics, however, have warned that amending the EU treaty entails prolonged negotiations.

Market analyst Michael Mross says making changes to the treaty is a “very complicated matter.”

The Treaty of Lisbon is like the EU Constitution,” Mross said. “And a constitution is not a diary where you write something new everyday.”

Smaller member states have also expressed their resentment against the Franco-German imperious approach to the issue, though some have voiced their support for the proposal.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said that Poland, with a public debt worth half its GDP, is ready for euro zone changes.

We support strict rules in the economy, and we want countries that follow such rules to be rewarded,” he said.