Speaking this morning, former European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet said that Europe is halfway to recovery. His words come at the same time as unprecedented fiscal temerity from the European Commission as it announces its intention to tighten its grip on members' budgets.
On employment, Trichet stressed that EU unemployment is absolutely unacceptable and he has no fear for Germany whose protection of employment, he said, is remarkable. He added that Germany should limit its current account surplus and that unconventional policy in crisis is absolutely necessary.
Trichet's commentary serves as a timely reminder of centralised discourse on the fiscal policies of individual countries within a monetary union: the EC is newly set to police the budget plans of the 17 Eurozone countries before they are fully outlined to national parliaments.
Despite international reluctance around the executive's involvement in country-peculiar finances, in a few weeks' time, the EC will be at full fiscal surveillance throttle, in the biggest centralised regulation rules seen yet.
The Commission will have the right to return any budget plans it considers inadequate. Parliaments can ignore its advice, but face swift and hefty fines for line-crossing.
The move highlights the extent to which fiscal power has shifted, swapping sovereignty for super-state.