Politicians on the left who have long campaigned against austerity worry that the softer tone on spending cuts adopted by Mr. Barroso and others will bring only policy tweaks on the margins. “Are we just fiddling while Rome burns?” asked Udo Bullmann, a German Socialist. “Europe is burning,” he told Mr. Rehn in Parliament on Thursday.
Pervenche Berès, Socialist chairwoman of theEmployment and Social Affairs Committee, is skeptical that signs of greater flexibility will result in a dramatic change of policy. “They still want to kill Keynes,” she said, referring to the British economist John Maynard Keynes, who believed that fiscal stimulus, not contraction, is sometimes the best solution to crisis. “They always make minimal changes at the very last minute when they have no choice,” she added.