Thursday

2nd Apr 2020

Merkel outlines steps to 'stability union'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for a "stability union" in which all member states behave in a fiscally responsible manner and miscreants can be brought before the EU’s highest court.

Making a direct reference to the founding fathers of the EU, who had to "rebuild a destroyed Germany", Merkel told her parliament on Wednesday (7 September) that "our task is to show the way to reach a stability union."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or join as a group

This would involve a possible EU treaty change to enforce budget control in euro states.

"If we say we want more Europe, then a treaty change cannot be a taboo,” said the chancellor noting that under the current Lisbon Treaty, there is "no mechanism" obliging countries to adhere to rules underpinning the euro.

The chancellor called it one of the EU’s "paradoxes" that countries can hauled before the European Court of Justice for breaching most EU laws but not when the euro rules are broken.

Merkel also dismissed the much-touted idea of eurobonds – the mutualisation of eurozone debt – saying it would lead to a "debt union".

"We have to tell people clearly that we cannot rid ourselves of today's problems - the excessive debts that have grown over decades - just like that, cue eurobonds and debt structuring, and then everything is ok again. No, this will be a long and difficult path, but one that is important for the future."

The chancellor said the central question that has to be dealt with is the fact that although all 17 eurozone countries are completely bound to one another, each has control over their national budget.

A solution to this thorny issue would lead to a more favourable climate for considering eurobonds, the chancellor indicated.

Solidarity alone is no good

She also dismissed "solidarity" as a stand-alone concept. "We need solidarity and personal responsibility," she said.

It is not those who immediately give in and help others who are right but rather those whose actions lead to a stability union.

"Brushing all problems under the carpet and talking about solidarity will not lead us to a stability union."

Her speech comes just weeks ahead of a Bundestag vote on extending the powers of the eurozone fund, so that it can buy bonds, something strongly criticised by some in her own party.

She reminded deputies that the discussions are not taking place in a vacuum and a rejection would have consequences.

Rehn questions political appetite for eurobonds

EU monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn has questioned whether euro countries are really prepared to accept the loss of national fiscal power that would come with the introduction of eurobonds - deemed by many as the principle means of exiting the eurozone debt crisis.

Merkel wants 'permanent' supervision of Greece, warns of war

Peace should not be taken for granted if the euro fails, German chancellor Merkel told MPs Wednesday ahead of the eurozone summit. Greeks deserve respect for their sacrifice, she said, but their government has to be put under "permanent" supervision.

Italy sides with Germany against eurobonds

At Italy’s first invitation for an audience before the Franco-German duo that powers European decision-making, Prime Minister Mario Monti made it clear he backs the German position on eurobonds.

Already doubts over Belgium's new 'anti-corona government'

Belgium's King Philippe has given interim prime minister Sophie Wilmès the task of forming a government, after seven opposition parties agreed to support it. The agreement came after a political drama - and there are doubts if it will hold.

Analysis

What does Erdoğan want?

By opening Turkey's border, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants to push Europe into supporting him in Ankara's negotiations with Russia's Vladimir Putin for a deal on Syria's Idlib.

Five new post-Brexit MEPs to watch

Five MEPs to keep an eye on from the 27 new members who are joining the European Parliament this week, following the UK's departure from the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. Court: Three countries broke EU law on migrant relocation
  2. Journalism hit hard by corona crisis
  3. EU fighting shortages and faulty medical supplies
  4. New EU navy operation to keep migrant details secret
  5. MEP: Constituents are our window into this tragedy
  6. Without European patriotism, EU decline is inevitable
  7. EU cancels April Fool's 'fake news'
  8. A coronavirus 'Marshall Plan' alone won't be nearly enough

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us