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As expected, lawmakers need more time to sign off on a body of six legislative proposals dubbed the 'economic governance package', drafted to keep countries' debts and imbalances down to sustainable levels.
In talks which lasted until 3am this morning, policymakers made headway on many parts of the package, such as how to control macroeconomic imbalances and laws allowing the European Commission to vet national budget-making.
But disagreements remain. The worsening sovereign debt crisis has put policymakers under immense pressure to bring the contradictory views of member states and the European Parliament closer together.
Though EU finance ministers have been at loggerheads over ways to contain Greece's spiralling debts (see 'Background'), the European Parliament is still the most vocal advocate of 'more Brussels', especially when countries disregard recommendations from the European Commission.
The finance ministries and MEPs disagree on the use of Reverse Qualified Majority Voting (RQMV), whereby ministers would have to vote to save a country from automatic EU scrutiny or sanctions. The Parliament's rationale is that a formal voting session will discourage member states from sweeping problems under the carpet.
EU countries last night did agree to hold a vote but they stopped short of allowing RQMV in earlier phases of debt vetting. In contrast, MEPs want to introduce reverse voting earlier to put pressure on governments to nip debt problems in the bud before they spiral out of control.
The Parliament has argued that RQMV is needed when a country has ignored a first set of recommendations from the European Commission and is due a second warning. A formal vote would give the second alarm more legitimacy, goes their argument.
Talks are likely to resume next week with little indication of whether the Parliament will get its way. A separate demand to force the finance ministers of countries with excessive debts to appear before MEPs in a Q&A session will likely be watered down to an informal invitation.