Published Tuesday, 21 February 2012
What makes it feel like another universe is the use by everyone of jargon.
Europe has a semester which has nothing to do with a university term.
They have arranged a six pack which is neither related to beer nor to a muscled torso. In any case it is being updated by a two pack.
What all these developments have in common is a desire by European governments partly to get to grips with the current economic crisis but also to make sure it won't happen again.
While there is an undoubted touch of barring the stable door after the old nag has well and truly bolted, nevertheless one gets the distinct impression that EU ministers and officials recognise that the Commission needs to be given the powers both to probe into country finances and to impose sanctions if necessary.
Just today the European Council has backed proposals which, if accepted by the European Parliament, will mean that Eurozone member states will have to present their annual draft spending plans in mid-October to the Commission which will reserve the right to offer opinions on the wisdom of the strategies pursued.
These opinions can be ignored but if a country subsequently gets into difficulties, they will be taken into account when help is being sought.
As part of this wider review a so called alert mechanism is being set up. This will act as an early warning system designed to flag up problems in economies.
Big Brussels is well and truly watching you.
The UK remains at a distance from some of these reforms. Last December along with the Czech Republic it would not back the introduction of strict budgetary rules.
However it is bound to be affected by these regulations in spirit if not in substance.
While there's no doubting the determination to remedy this crisis, one gets the impression that some here in Brussels feel UK and US commentators and financial market traders too have exaggerated the scale of the crisis facing the Eurozone as a whole.
If the area were a complete basket case, why is the euro so strong?
It was pointed out to visiting journalists here that the euro area has an annual budget deficit which in percentage terms is smaller than that of the UK and US.
Italy may have accumulated debt of 120% of GDP but it has managed that level many years. In fact Italy has to pay a smaller proportion of its GDP to cover interest on its debt than two decades ago.
Nevertheless it is recognised that the Eurozone has a growth crisis which has not been resolved.
And despite the agreement reached today with Greece, how many believe the country will not eventually leave the euro?