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Addressing the German parliament, Chancellor Angela Merkel said European Union rules should be amended to expel countries that exceed the debt limit established for member-states.
“In the future, we need an entry in the [Lisbon] Treaty that would make it possible, as a last resort, to exclude a country from the eurozone if the conditions are not fulfilled again and again over the long term,” the German chancellor said. “Otherwise co-operation is impossible” (EUobserver).
The EU’s Stability and Growth Pact sets debt and deficit limits at 3 percent of gross domestic product. Yet some European nations are well beyond this requirement. For example, Greece’s 2009 financial deficit was as high as 12.7 percent—four times higher than the EU regulations permit.
“Ms. Merkel is demanding new measures to beef up the euro-zone’s rules for disciplining a wayward member, a move that some see as a step toward tighter economic integration in the group,” The Wall Street Journal wrote. “Others read the push as a signal that Germany is merely seeking greater control over other governments’ fiscal policy, while refusing to deepen its own commitment to the common European cause.”