Monday

24th Apr 2017

Euro-tsar to have veto powers on national budgets, Schaeuble says

  • A euro-commissioner should have veto powers according to Schauble (Photo: World Economic Forum)

The EU should have its own "currency commissioner," according to an ambitious new plan set out by German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Under Schaeuble's plan, which would include further changes to the EU treaties, a new European commissioner responsible for economic and currency affairs would need to sign off on national budgets before they could be implemented by governments.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Outlining the proposals to journalists on his flight returning to Berlin from the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Tokyo on Tuesday (16 October), Germany's finance minister said that his leader, Angela Merkel, was fully behind him.

"When I put forward such proposals, you can take it as a given that the chancellor agrees," he said.

Schaeuble also wants the currency commissioner to have similar status to the competition commissioner, who has a mandate to make decisions on EU competition policy without the agreement of the rest of the college of commissioners, arguing that this independence would "depoliticise" the role and improve decision making.

It would also create two tiers of MEP within the European Parliament, with decisions relating to the eurozone being made only by MEPs from countries using the euro.

The question of creating a special committee for the eurozone has support from some MEPs, and was suggested by the likes of Pervenche Beres, the French centre-left chairwoman of the employment committee, in 2011, but is widely seen as a divisive step by deputies.

The plans would built on the six legislative files on economic governance agreed by the 17 eurozone countries in 2011 and came into force in January.

They are now required to present national budgets to the commission to show how they intend to meet debt and deficit reduction targets.

However, while the commission has the power to ask for additional tax rises or spending cuts to meet budget targets and to impose fines on countries which fail to deliver, it does not have formal veto powers.

Schaeuble's salvo is the latest sign that Germany is prepared to deepen fiscal and political integration and builds on proposals already agreed by Merkel's governing Christian Democrat party (CDU).

However, with Merkel finding it increasingly tough to force measures relaxing the terms of bailout conditions and increasing the firepower of the EU rescue fund, the ESM, through the Bundestag, her government is only offering the carrot of deeper European integration in exchange for strict supervision powers at EU level.

Schaeuble's suggestions come as EU leaders prepare for Thursday's summit in Brussels.

Alongside discussions on the commission proposals to establish the European Central Bank as the single supervisor of the eurozone's banking sector, politicians are also expected to focus on Spain's solvency.

Despite informally requesting up to €100 billion to support its private banks, Spain is widely expected to request a formal bailout before the end of 2012.

Leaders will also discuss European Council President Herman Van Rompuy's "ideas paper" which was sent to national capitals last week.

The Van Rompuy paper also raised the possibility of having a finance minister for the eurozone, as well as a special budget, alongside the prospect of establishing new EU-level instruments to ease debt financing.

The mooted instruments include short-term eurobills and a "debt redemption fund" first proposed by a German advisory panel of economic experts.

Eurozone needs 'limited fiscal solidarity'

The eurozone should consider introducing treasury bills, a special budget and a finance ministry, says a new ideas paper ahead of next week's summit.

No eurozone-only assembly, say MEPs

MEPs have dismissed suggestions that a new parliamentary body should be set up solely for eurozone members stating that “no new accountability structures specific to the euro-area must be established.”

National parliaments 'not best' for EU's interests

A new ideas paper on progress towards further EU integration highlights the shifting power sands for national parliaments as the European Parliament is set to become the principle democratic guardian of a future EU.

Agenda

Brexit summit, Turkey and Hungary dominate EU This WEEK

European leaders will adopt their negotiating position on the Brexit summit on Saturday, whereas the situation of Hungary's democracy and post-referendum Turkey will be under scrutiny in the EU this week.

Investigation

Illicit Russian money poses threat to EU democracy

It cost €11 million to help Le Pen campaign in elections, but it cost the Russian mafia less than €100,000 to hire a former UK attorney general to lobby against EU sanctions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  2. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  3. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  4. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  5. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  6. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  7. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  9. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  10. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  11. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsTime to Turn the Tide and End Repression of Central Asia's Civil Society

Latest News

  1. Brexit summit, Turkey and Hungary dominate EU This WEEK
  2. Russia threat triggers European military spending hike
  3. Voters 'change face' of French politics
  4. France holds nail-biting 'anti-system' vote
  5. Le Pen-Putin friendship goes back a long way
  6. Mogherini should tell Russians their rights matter
  7. Le Pens Freunde aus dem Trump Tower
  8. Sexe et mensonges: l'information russe sur l'UE