Monday

15th Aug 2022

Non-euro countries fight for a place at the decision-making table

A group of non-euro member states led by Poland is a fighting a rearguard action not to be left out in the cold as single currency member states consider going ahead with a eurozone economic government.

Europe ministers from Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania met in Brussels on Monday (12 September) morning to discuss how best to influence the debate on the future of the 17-nation euro area.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

All seven states are obliged under the terms of their accession treaties to join the single currency but they have little means of making their views heard, being excluded from the increasingly frequent meetings on euro governance.

Warsaw wants "European governance that is coherent in the sense that we do not create two different clubs within Europe," said Poland Prime Minister Donald Tusk following a meeting with EU council president Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels.

Polish Europe minister Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, also in the EU capital, said: "I don’t think that you can restrict talk on the future of the euro to the eurozone countries. It is a matter of concern and priority for the whole of the European Union."

He said he thought the meetings would "continue" adding: "Look at the bright side of life, call it the friends of euro and don’t have dark thought about why we are meeting".

Dowgielewicz also indicated that the seven countries will lay out a series of proposals on economic governance before a general meeting of EU leaders in October.

The spectre of a two-speed Europe, with a core of more closely integrated eurozone states started to take shape in August when France and Germany proposed regular meetings of eurozone leaders and a separate euro president, likely to be Van Rompuy.

In addition, Van Rompuy is working on economic governance proposals which he is to unveil next month.

He said they would concentrate on four issues: improving efficacy of working methods and communication; strengthening institutions; fiscal discipline; and fiscal integration.

He was not particularly welcoming of the club of seven’s activities. "If non-euro members want to make observations, ask for additional information or make fundamental remarks, the European Council will be the place to do so," he said.

New treaty unwelcome

The Polish prime minister dismissed the idea of working on a new treaty to incorporate new economic governance rules as a distraction.

"I am aware of the fact that the treaty is no longer a taboo subject but I would be extremely hesitant in engaging European leaders and European institutions in that debate today", said Tusk. "We need very strong decisions now and any discussion concerning the treaty could possibly lead to less coherence among the positions of the member states".

Germany, in particular, has been pushing to re-open the treaty in order to enshrine sanctions for budget sinners into EU law.

Recently European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso also suggested it might be an option, although most member states look on the prospect with a jaundiced eye after the decade-long negotiations to produce the current, just-in-force, Lisbon Treaty.

Cameron: 'We sceptics' want a flexible Europe

British Prime Minister Cameron has said his country should stay within the EU and shape decisions but would prefer a "flexible network" rather than the "rigidity of a bloc."

Sarkozy pushes for 'two-speed' Europe

With France's borrowing costs on the up and with its prized triple-A rating under threat, French leader Nicolas Sarkozy is publicly advocating a fast-lane Europe for 'core' euro-countries.

Brazil pitches itself as answer to Ukraine war food shortages

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is pitching his Latin American country as the answer to the world food crisis following the war in Ukraine. The traditional wheat importer has now exported three million tonnes of the grain so far in 2022.

News in Brief

  1. Zelensky vows to 'target' Russian soldiers at nuclear plant
  2. Putin vows greater cooperation with North Korea and Taliban
  3. Hungarian judge slams Orbán's rule-of-law attacks
  4. Borrell condemns 'despicable' Rushdie attack
  5. Slow wind-farm approvals risk green goals, warns industry
  6. Increase in people crossing Channel to UK in 2022
  7. Swedish government to toughen gang-crime penalties
  8. Germany to help nationals cope with energy price spike

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Germany needs to cut gas use by 20% to stave off winter crisis
  2. Europe's wildfire destruction set to hit new record
  3. How Putin and Erdoğan are making the West irrelevant
  4. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season
  5. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  6. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  7. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  8. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us