In what seems an ominous warning to countries like Ireland, European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet has suggested that Eurozone members that break the region’s rules on public finances should be excluded temporarily from Europe’s political decision-making.
In a controversial interview with the Financial Times, Trichet said such a move would be a “quantum leap” in the governance of the monetary union, and might be what was required to avoid economic crises like that caused recently by Greece.
While Trichet has always rejected the idea of any Eurozone member actually been thrown out, he did tell the FT that temporary suspension of voting rights was “something that should be explored”.
On a more positive note, Trichet insisted that the so-called Euro crisis created by the Greek debacle had not brought the Eurozone as close to disaster at all, as had been widely suggested. “Seen from the outside, I would say that it’s always difficult for external observers to judge and analyse correctly the capacity of Europe to face up to exceptional difficulties,” he told the FT.