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Der Standard - Austria | Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Austria's chancellor afraid of the people

Austria's parties are currently debating whether the signing of the EU fiscal compact by Chancellor Werner Faymann on Friday will encroach on the country's sovereignty. But above all Faymann is shying away from a confrontation with the people, the left-liberal daily Der Standard writes: "All budgets, and even economic programmes, must be presented in Brussels for approval. If they're rejected, Austria is forced to revise them. Part and parcel of this scheme is that expenses for the ESM that have already been passed are ignored in the current budget. This fund, by the way, makes necessary the kind of change to the Treaty of Lisbon necessary for which … Faymann once promised a referendum. But instead of seeking confrontation and clarifying the basis on which Europe stands, the government is sticking its head in the sand. The time is ripe for a fruitful dispute over whether the national disempowerment in budget matters represents a fundamental change to the constitution and therefore calls for a referendum . But muddling through with a simple majority just testifies to a poor relationship with democracy."

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