Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Most people would agree that the European Union and the euro single currency are part of a grand political and economic vision. But at times they are also a bit of a numbers game.
As Greece has shown with its less-than-reliable economic statistics, numbers can be fiddled to get budget deficits and debts down and meet the criteria to join the euro.
But the European Commission, the EU’s executive, is not above a bit of numerical jiggery-pokery itself, even if no one is suggesting that the Commission has made any numbers up. Its figures just don’t make much economic sense.
Take the case of Estonia and inflation.
The Commission announced on Wednedsay that Estonia would be allowed to adopt the euro next year. One of the criteria the Commission said it had met was the EU treaty’s inflation target. The treaty says a euro candidate country’s average inflation over 12 months must be no higher than 1.5 percentage points above the average of the three “best performers” in the EU.
Last weekend, Finland’s foreign minister gathered six of his colleagues and the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, in the frozen far reaches of Lapland for two days of talks on the future of European foreign policy.
As informal ministerial gatherings go, it was a rather jolly (if cold) affair, complete with a ‘family photo’ taken with a pair of nervous reindeer, a chance to see the northern lights and activities such as skiing, sledging and snow-mobiling. Some of the ministers even brought along their families.