Tuesday

12th Nov 2019

Eurozone countries hold series of crucial votes

  • The German parliament is due to vote on Thursday (Photo: Deutscher Bundestag/Stephan Erfurt)

A swathe of European parliaments are this week due to decide on the strengthened temporary bailout fund, the EFSF, but the eurozone debate is moving faster than the political process.

MPs in Finland, Germany, Slovenia, Estonia and Austria will in the coming days all cast their vote on whether to accept a July agreement of eurozone leaders to enhance the €440bn fund so that it can loan pre-emptively and buys bonds of struggling eurozone countries on the secondary market.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

While eight of the 17 eurozone countries have already greenlighted the fund - which needs the approval of all to get off the ground - the states where the new powers and the merits of eurozone bailouts have been most hotly contested still have to vote.

This is especially so in Germany, due to vote Thursday. While the bailout fund is expected to be approved, analysts are already wondering at what political cost to German chancellor Angela Merkel, whose authority is being tested by fellow conservatives in Bavaria and by members of the liberal party, the junior coalition partner. Much is expected to be made of whether the fund scrapes a majority or gets an absolute majority.

Finland, another country where the debate has strongly focussed on whether fiscally prudent countries should be required to loan money to trouble fellow euro members, is set to vote on Wednesday.

However national politicians in these countries are in the awkward position of voting on a fund that is likely almost immediately to be substantially altered.

Over the weekend it emerged that the EU, under immense pressure from Washington, is considering considerably enhancing the European Financial Stability Facility to finally give it the power to tackle all aspects of the crisis - including under-capitalised banks and contagion to Italy and Spain.

Under the mooted plans EFSF money would be leveraged through the European Central Bank to give it up to 2 trillion euros in fire-fighting aid.

Politicians are already on the defensive about the new proposals, with it unclear whether they in turn would also require parliamentary approval.

"There are no plans in the Netherlands, and as far as I know none in Finland either, to raise the amount in the EFSF," Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Monday (26 September) following a meeting with his Finnish counterpart Jyrki Katainen, reports Dutch News.

"We need the package of 21 July and are, both in Finland and in the Netherlands, extremely busy on ensuring it can be implemented. The rest is speculation," said Rutte.

Opposition politicians in Germany are already protesting the potential plans, which may also including establishing the permanent bailout fund - the European Stability Mechanism - a year earlier than planned.

"The chancellor must very quickly make clear that there are no change to the basic workings of the EFSF," said Christian Lindner, secretary general of the liberal party, on Monday. The "character of the provisional bailout fund" must not be changed later and that should be politically and legally clear, he said.

Hermann Otto Solms, finance expert for the liberals, told Die Welt newspaper that if finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble does not immediately clarify that "there is no leverage, then we will not vote in favour of the law."

The last eurozone to vote on the fund is Slovakia on 11 October. It is also the state considered to be most likely to reject the fund's new powers.

Until this date, policy makers in the eurozone will have to continue the difficult juggling act of letting parliamentary process take its course while hurrying to keep up with the pressure of doubting markets.

EU finance chiefs cool on Geithner plan for eurozone

A unprecedented visit by US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner to a meeting of European finance ministers in Poland was coolly received by the gathered European economy chiefs, while the meeting itself saw little advance made on how the eurozone can deal with its ever-deteriorating debt crisis.

EU looking at trillions in shock-and-awe plan to end crisis

A plan involving a multi-trillion euro leveraging of the eurozone's rescue fund via the European Central Bank is under consideration as the EU comes under global pressure to act quickly to prevent the bloc's crisis kicking off a global recession.

Euro states set to agree second loan for Greece

Eurozone leaders look set to greenlight a new loan for Greece as well as establish what will effectively be a European Monetary Fund, according to draft conclusions circulating on Thursday afternoon.

Opinion

Making or breaking the European Union - Barroso’s U-turn?

President Barroso knows all too well that his name will not belong in the list of great European statesmen unless he makes a U-turn to leave a legacy worth mentioning in future history books, Philippe Adriaenssens, President of the Young European Federalists.

EU and China agree to defend 'gastronomic jewels'

Manchego cheese, Panjin rice and Polish vodka will all be protected under a new EU-China agreeement. But the two trading giants continue to struggle over other trade-related deals.

News in Brief

  1. Three new commissioner-designates pass legal scrutiny
  2. ECJ: EU countries must label Israeli settlement products
  3. Belgian asylum centre set on fire
  4. Xi Jingping in Athens promises new investment
  5. Farage's Brexit Party will not stand in Tory-held seats
  6. British founder of Syrian 'White Helmets' found dead
  7. Eight member states ask for EU aviation tax
  8. EU allocates €55m humanitarian aid to Sudan

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  3. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  4. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  5. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  7. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  11. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work

Latest News

  1. Pro-Israeli group scores own goal on EU retail labels
  2. New commissioners clear 'conflict of interests' hurdle
  3. Israeli labelling ruling lets consumers make choice
  4. What does Macron really want on Western Balkans?
  5. Far-right Vox celebrates, as Spain left without majority
  6. EU 'climate bank' won't rule out carbon capture
  7. New hearings for the von der Leyen commission This WEEK
  8. Bosnia wants explanation for Macron's 'time-bomb' remark

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us