European Interest

Brussels aims for deeper euro zone integration

Flickr/EU2017EE Estonian Presidency/CC BY 2.0

The European Commission on December 6 is scheduled to unveil a package for the 19 countries sharing the euro. According to Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, it is aimed at making the single currency area more resilient to potential future crises.

“First, that it should advance the unity of Europe through greater convergence within the euro area and the wider Union. Second, that it should make the governance of the euro area more democratic and efficient at the same time,” he said.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, the approach is to alleviate concerns among non-euro zone countries that deeper integration would make them second-class members of the EU, with less say and funds in the future.

The Commission package will address ideas floated by French President Emmanuel Macron on creating a euro zone budget, a euro zone finance minister and a euro zone parliament.

Other ideas include the German-supported project of transforming the euro zone bailout fund into a European Monetary Fund and setting up a sovereign insolvency mechanism.

Plans to help the European banking system by setting up a Europe-wide bank deposit insurance scheme are also on the table.

The ideas were discussed by all of the European Union’s finance ministers, except Britain, on December 4, in preparation for a euro summit of the 27 leaders on December 15.

According to Moscovici, the Commission will propose on December 6 to make the euro zone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a European Union institution rather than a body owned and run by euro zone governments as it is now.

“The ESM cannot stay as it is – a purely intergovernmental body, it should be submitted to .. the control of the European Parliament,” he said.

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