Faced with financial turmoil that has resisted every emergency fix the European Union has adopted, European leaders are considering a radical step: giving up some of their independence to set domestic economic policies and cutting back many of the wage and welfare benefits that have defined the region’s politics for decades. In return, the European Union would provide funds to shore up the weakest member states, including Portugal, Greece and Spain.
The proposals, originally pressed by the newly assertive German chancellor, will be debated Friday in what is expected to be a contentious session of the leaders of the 17 countries that use the euro.
Germany is calling for several measures: raising retirement ages to reduce the burden on pension funds, ending the linking of wages to increases in the cost of living, committing to debt reduction and submitting to a level of budget scrutiny that was until recently considered anathema — and is still viewed by many as a step too far.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Germany Sets Steep Price to Shore Up Euro Zone - NYTimes.com