Thursday

22nd Aug 2019

European Commission should be EU government, says Germany

  • Wolfgang Schaeuble is tipped to be the next head of the eurozone group of finance ministers (Photo: World Economic Forum)

The European Union needs to become more integrated with a common finance policy and a central government, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Wednesday (16 May).

"I would be for the further development of the European Commission into a government. I am for the election of a European president, he said at an event in Aachen, reports Reuters.

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

"I am in favour of being more courageous on Europe," said Schaeuble, who is one of the German government's most pro-European ministers.

He said this is a longterm response to the current eurozone crisis, which many have said has been exacerbated by the fact that the EU lacked the tools - such as a central transfer system - to effectively deal with it.

"We certainly won't manage it in this legislative period," said Schauble referring to the creation of a finance ministry but noted that for a currency union, a part of finance policy needs to be harmonised.

That should be the "lesson" learned from the current crisis.

He said he wants to widen citizens participation in EU politics beyond voting for MEPs to voting for the president of the European Commission, noting that the recent French presidential elections, including a three-hour TV debate between the two candidates, attracted interest far beyond the country's borders.

His comments come as the eurozone is in its most difficult period since its sovereign debt crisis began over two years ago.

Politicians are openly talking about the prospect of Greece having to leave the euro following the 6 May election which saw most of the population reject the tough terms attached to the two bailouts the country has had.

Some EU leaders, including European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, have indicated that Greeks should see the follow-up elections, due on 17 June, as a referendum on whether they want to stay in the euro.

Political messages on the future of Greece and the 17-nation eurozone have multiplied in recent days leading to a febrile atmosphere in the markets.

British leader David Cameron is due to step into the fray Thursday (17 May).

He will tell a business audience in England that the eurozone has to head towards political and fiscal union or risk a "potential break-up," reports the Financial Times.

"Either Europe has a committed, stable, successful eurozone with an effective firewall, well-capitalised and regulated banks, a system of fiscal burden sharing and supportive monetary policy across the eurozone or we are in uncharted territory which carries huge risks for everyone.”

Euro fears rise as Greeks withdraw money from banks

Greeks have withdrawn billions of euros from their banks in recent days, with the country's president warning of "panic" at the prospect of the country leaving the eurozone. Markets are equally jittery, pushing Spain closer to a bail-out.

Exclusive

Brexit row delays financial products transparency review

A European financial regulatory body set up after the financial crisis is at loggerheads with the European Commission over whether to carry out a transparency review of certain financial products. The reason: Brexit.

Commission defends Mercosur trade deal

EU commissioners defended a far-reaching free trade agreement between the EU and four Latin American countries, against critics who fear it will damage European farmers' livelihoods and the global environment.

EU hesitates to back France over US tariff threat

France has passed a new tax on tech companies that will affect US global giants like Facebook. Donald Trump has threatened retaliatory tariffs over it. The EU commission says it will "coordinate closely with French" on the next steps.

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 reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Open Arms may face fine in Spain 
  2. Belgium's EU commission hopeful in free press row
  3. Conte turns on Salvini, as Italy prepares for change
  4. Nordic-German climate action signals broader alliance
  5. The EU committee's great 'per diem' charade
  6. Spain calls for legal action against Italy on migrants
  7. Trump to meet Greenland leader in Denmark
  8. Irish border plan is 'anti-democratic', Johnson tells EU

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us