European Press Review: New EU Constitution Threatened? | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 27.11.2003
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European Press Review: New EU Constitution Threatened?

European papers on Thursday continued to discuss the debate over the EU's stability pact and the consequences it has on the union's constitution.

The Danish financial paper Borsen wrote that the EU's growth and stability pact effectively broke down when Germany and France were permitted to continue

exceeding the deficit limit of three percent without retribution. The EU Commission could formally take EU finance ministers to court for breaking the legal rules of the pact, the paper said – but that would only lead to a

judicial crisis. Instead it suggested the EU propose a new, reformed pact with more emphasis on growth.

French daily Le Figaro called on Europe to listen to Spain. That country has double the economic growth rate of the European average, the paper noted. That's because

of its orthodox domestic budget. Spain is now leading the charge against France and Germany for not having their budgets in order and quite rightly so, the paper said.

“What will happen now,” asked Milan's Corriere della Sera. Just keep going and hope the wound will heal without any help? Begin a legal battle, create a new pact or simply ignore the current rules and concentrate on making the

fundamentals more precise? All these questions have to be answered before the EU summit mid December.

The Dutch paper De Telegraaf warned that the debacle over the stability pact could have consequences for the new EU constitution. Under these circumstances, the paper said, it can hardly be expected that EU members come to any agreement. It’s almost certain that the smaller countries now will not want to concede to any of France or Germany's wishes regarding the constitution.

London's Financial Times agreed. The stability pact debacle is bad enough. Failure to agree on a new treaty at the Brussels summit in three weeks or a botched deal that satisfies no one would cast doubt on the credibility of the

entire project. Such a double failure would cause immense damage ahead of European Union enlargement next May.

U.S. foreign policy was also cause for comment at Munich's Süddeutsche Zeitung. George W. Bush has been compared to many former American presidents. But for the first time he's being compared to Dwight Eisenhower for doing what many didn't expect: withholding money from Israel. While the amount is not that significant it's a symbolic slap in the face for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the paper wrote.

Vienna's Der Standard said that U.S. President George W. Bush may like to divide the world into good and bad, or polarise world powers into the axis of evil. But to be

fair one should also recognize that some of his policies don't fit neatly into the stereotypes that people like Michael Moore use to categorize him, the paper commented.