Friday

20th Oct 2017

Juncker wants more eurozone activism

  • Mr Juncker was elected for a further 2.5 years as president of the eurogroup (Photo: Luxembourg EU Presidency)

Re-elected as president of the 16-member bloc of EU states that use the euro currency, Luxembourg's prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, spelled out his vision for the group at a meeting of finance ministers on Monday evening (18 January).

Previously an informal configuration, the EU's new rulebook - the Lisbon Treaty - gives legal status to the group of euro area finance ministers, setting it the goal of "ever closer co-ordination of economic policies within the euro area".

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The scope for its activities is much broader," Mr Juncker told journalists at a news conference after the meeting, adding that finance minister had approved his "outline programme of our future work".

Mandated to lead the group for another 2.5 years, the inveterate European politician said members should focus on co-ordinating spending, work to bring their economies closer together and push for a stronger voice internationally.

"It's not a question of adding bureaucratic layers, but of adding value to our economy," said Mr Juncker.

As part of an "enhanced" co-ordination of member states' economic policy, efforts will be made to reduce the huge imbalances in economic productivity within the group, while perspective members will be subject to more rigorous testing to make sure their economies are up to scratch.

Mr Juncker also said the European Commission was set to formally propose that the eurogroup become a member of the Group of 20 major economies and that a small secretariat of "four to five" civil servants would be set up in the Council of Ministers building in Brussels to prepare the currency club's monthly meetings.

The Luxembourgish politician's ability to push the agenda forward will depend on member-state support however, with Franco-Spanish enthusiasm for greater economic co-ordination tempered by German concerns it could lead to an erosion of independence of the European Central Bank.

Greece

Greece was also very much on the agenda of the 16 finance ministers' meeting, after the country presented the commission with a new plan on Friday, outlining how it will cut its budget deficit from the 12.7 percent of GDP recorded in 2009 to under 3 percent by 2012.

Particular criticism has been directed at the southeastern country's repeated tendency to provide the European statistics office - Eurostat - with inaccurate data.

Also present at Monday's meeting, EU economy commissioner Joaquin Almunia said the European executive body would propose a plan in February to "try to find solutions to the negative aspects and failures of the statistics system in Greece."

The action plan, to be followed up with close monitoring, is a further significant step towards a direct EU say on the running of economic policy in a eurozone member state.

Macron puts trade policy on summit table

France's president wants a "political discussion" on EU trade policies at Thursday's summit, amid domestic concerns over Canada and South America deals. But his colleagues are likely to avoid a lengthy debate.

Analysis

Juncker's euro-push could risk unity, warns eastern flank

The EU Commission chief hopes that as Emmanuel Macron pushes for euro area countries to integrate further creating a multi-speed Europe, central European members will be more inclined to join the single currency. Are they?

News in Brief

  1. Dutch PM: Brexit is 'still a bad idea'
  2. Commission to issue proposal on civil protection
  3. Tusk: 'No space' for EU intervention in Catalonia
  4. Austrian PM calls Brexit talks speed 'big disappointment'
  5. PM Muscat: journalist murder 'left a mark' on Malta
  6. Belgian PM: No crisis with Spain over Catalan remarks
  7. Ireland PM: Further Brexit concessions needed from UK
  8. Merkel: rule of law in Turkey going 'in wrong direction'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEJC Applauds the Bulgarian Government for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  2. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  3. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  6. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  7. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  8. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  9. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  10. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  11. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness

Latest News

  1. EU seeks to shut down sea route from Libya
  2. Digital debate will be first test of Tusk's new policy crowbar
  3. EU Parliament: EU migrant quotas do have a future
  4. EU countries praise Tusk's new summit plans
  5. Commission employs double standards in Spain
  6. Legal study sounds alarm on 'Baysanto' merger
  7. Health MEPs want to phase out glyphosate by 2020
  8. Tusk: EU migrant quotas have 'no future'