Wednesday

8th Dec 2021

EU leaders to consider eurozone budget, reform 'contracts'

  • Council meeting room: EU leaders will later this month consider giving more oversight powers on employment, pensions and social areas to the European Commission (Photo: Valentina Pop)

EU leaders meeting later this month in Brussels will try to iron out disagreements on a new eurozone banking supervisor and consider further steps to deepen the economic union, such as a eurozone budget and binding "contracts" on reforms.

According to draft guidelines discussed on Wednesday (3 October) by EU ambassadors for the summit conclusions on 18-19 October, member states should consider "individual contractual arrangements with the European level on the reforms they commit to undertake and their implementation."

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

The idea, although controversial, is not new. Germany has long fought to have more supervision of national decisions on budgets, labour market reforms, pension schemes or retirement age in member states.

It sees this as a quid pro quo for its approval of the Greek, Portuguese, Irish and now Spanish bailouts, the setting up of a permanent bailout fund, and the tacit endorsement of a bond-buying scheme by the European Central Bank.

EU officials familiar with the discussions among member states say it is still too early to say whether to expect a deal at the October summit on this extra layer of supervision.

The same goes for the idea of having a budget for the 17 eurozone countries only.

"There seems to be more impetus behind it, but the most we can expect is for member states to say they are willing to explore it," one EU official told this website.

French finance minister Pierre Moscovici has already floated the possibility of a eurozone budget being used for unemployment benefits in countries under particular pressure, such as Spain where over a quarter of the workforce is out of a job.

But, said the EU source, the budget would rather needed to be 'new money' on top of the common EU budget for 2014-2020 currently being negotiated. Otherwise these negotiations risked being completely derailed.

A unanimous decision among all 27 members would be needed to allow for any non-standard use or splitting of the EU budget.

Meanwhile, the EU commission is planning to come up with its own blueprint on how eurozone budget could be achieved

One idea is to have loan guarantees on the back of the EU budget used for eurozone states only. This could be in the form of what is now the nearly exhausted European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM) - a €60 billion fund used for the Irish and Portuguese bailouts.

Another idea is to have "own resources" - such as a financial transactions tax - fund this eurozone-only pot.

At least nine countries have to endorse the idea for the tax to come into force. So far, only Germany, France and Austria have written to the commission in support of it.

The commission blueprint is only expected to be issued after the October summit, but before a November meeting of EU leaders aimed at sealing a deal on the next EU budget for 2014-2020.

UK threatens to veto EU budget

British conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will block the upcoming EU seven-year budget cycle if it goes against UK interests.

Parliament backs €9 billion EU budget hike

MEPs defied calls by national governments to rein in EU budget spending on Thursday, instead restoring most of the €138 billion settlement proposed by the European Commission for the 2013 budget.

News in Brief

  1. EU agrees to sanction Russian mercenaries
  2. Germany asks Iran for realistic nuclear proposals
  3. US to send troops to Europe if Russia invades Ukraine
  4. Will EU follow US on China Olympics boycott?
  5. EU flight passengers dropped 73% in 2020
  6. EU 'biggest vaccine-donor in world', von der Leyen announces
  7. Majority of EU citizens worried about internet's impact
  8. Redesigned euro banknotes coming from 2024

MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute

The Belgian and Bulgarian prosecutors who were appointed had also not been the experts' first choice. Belgian prosecutor Jean-Michel Verelst has challenged the council's decision at the European Court of Justice.

Latest News

  1. Denmark and Hungary oppose EU rules on minimum wages
  2. Slovenian corruption estimated at 13.5% of GDP
  3. Lithuania seeks EU protection from Chinese bullying
  4. Using Istanbul Convention to stop online abuse of women
  5. EU spends record €198bn on defence in 2020
  6. EU Parliament demands justice after 'anti-vax' attack on MEP
  7. Kaczyński and Le Pen make friends at anti-EU 'summit'
  8. Croat police kept handwritten logbook of likely pushbacks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us