Saturday

28th May 2022

Hollande calls for vanguard of states to lead strengthened eurozone

  • Hollande says Europe "must learn the lessons" of the Greek crisis and "go much further" . (Photo: Consillium)

French president Francois Hollande has called for a stronger more harmonised eurozone following a politically turbulent few weeks in which crisis with Greece has exposed the fault-lines in how the single currency is managed.

"What threatens us is not too much Europe, but too little Europe," he said in a letter published in the Journal du Dimanche.

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

He called for a vanguard of countries that would lead the eurozone, which should have its own government, a "specific budget" and its own parliament.

"Sharing a currency is much more than wanting convergence. It is a choice that 19 countries have made because it is in their interest," he wrote adding that this "choice" requires a "strengthened" organisation.

Founding countries

French prime minister Manuel Valls Sunday said the vanguard should include the six founding countries of the EU: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

He said France would prepare "concrete proposals" in the coming weeks. "We must learn the lessons and go much further," he added, referring to the Greek crisis.

"Europe has let its institutions weaken and the 28 governments struggle to agree to move forward. Parliaments are too far from decisions. People turn away because they have been bypassed,” said Hollande.

He added that “populists” have seized upon this “disenchantment” with Europe.

Hollande's calls come as the eurozone is locked in recriminations over its handling of Greece.

The country is set to get a third bailout following eleventh hour negotiations last week however neither the Athens government nor Berlin, the main architect of the bailout programme, believe it will be a success.

It exposed divisions between a camp of hardliners led by Germany, whose finance minister advocated a eurozone exit for Greece, and a camp led by France and Italy, which argued that the EU as a whole would be damaged if Greece left the euro.

The eurozone's set-up meant that it boiled down to the question of a legitimately-elected government in Berlin arguing against another legitimately-elected government in Athens.

The end result, with Greece essentially under eurozone tutelage, has exposed Germany to criticism that it is a too powerful member of the club.

Governance

There are plenty of ideas for how eurozone economic governance can be improved.

Last month, the European Commission published a ‘five presidents’ report on just this topic – it foresees a common deposit insurance scheme for eurozone banks under supervision of the European Central Bank (ECB), a bank resolution fund and eventually a euro area treasury.

However, these are controversial ideas and require more pooling of sovereignty at the EU level. This is at odds with the tone of the eurozone debate over the last weeks which, amid an erosion of trust, has seen a rise in nationalist rhetoric that pitted one state against another.

Eurozone should have own treasury by 2025

Eurozone states should cede more powers to EU institutions, including to a euro area treasury to be set-up in the next 10 years, a new report says.

Schaeuble said to want to split EU commission powers

German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble would like the competition and single market departments removed from the European Commission, according to a report in Germany's leading centre-right daily.

Analysis

Hollande's limited eurozone vision

With his proposals for a more integrated eurozone, the French president is looking beyond the Greek crisis. But does he have a plan?

Commission grilled on RePowerEU €210bn pricetag

EU leaders unveiled a €210bn strategy aiming to cut Russian gas out of the European energy equation before 2027 and by two-thirds before the end of the year — but questions remain on how it is to be financed.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us