Reiterates, defends “stupid” comment on “Pact”

The thumping “Yes” vote in the Irish referendum, paving the way for the enlargement of the EU, did not let European Commission President Romano Prodi take a breather as he came out with some hard-knocking statements on the “Stability and Growth Pact.”

Addressing the European Parliament, Prodi said: “…I am a firm believer in the value of the rules that underpin the EMU and the pact.” But then he went on to explain his earlier assertion that the system had glaring faults. Prodi’s argument was that the stupidity resides in inflexible rules, rigidly applied. He explained, “But awareness of the extraordinary things the pact has brought about, and will continue to bring about, should not blind us to the limitations of the institutional framework in which it is applied. Still less does it mean enforcing the Pact inflexibly and dogmatically, regardless of changing circumstances.”

Prodi added, “That is what I called — and still call – stupid … I do not think that it is the role of the Commission or of myself as president of the Commission to apply rules in that way.” The governments failing to adhere to the pact argue that they need the freedom to boost spending as the global economy slows.