Another Battle Over European Union Rules

The European Commission put its credibility on the line on Jan. 13 when it asked the European Court of Justice to review the controversial November decision by European Union Finance Ministers not to punish France and Germany for breaking the EU's financial regulations. The two countries repeatedly breached the Stability & Growth Pact, which sets strict limits on budget deficits for nations in the euro zone. Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pedro Solbes insists that because the stability pact is an international treaty, the Finance Ministers had no right to bend the rules, even if doing so made economic sense. But if the court doesn't rule in the commission's favor, the EC will be severely undermined -- and the validity of other EU treaties and laws will be thrown into doubt.

Edited by Rose Brady

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