Wednesday

26th Sep 2018

Barroso sees political momentum for more integration

  • Alone the "process" of going toward further economic integration would reassure markets, says the commission (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said he is going to push for an "early" plan for further integration in the eurozone, claiming political momentum is on his side.

"The commission will advocate an ambitious and structured response for a longer term perspective on the future of economic and monetary union," he said on Wednesday (30 May), the day the commission published a series of detailed economic policy recommendations for all 27 member states.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"The pace and sequencing of all these developments will need to be worked out, including a roadmap and a timetable. But an early confirmation of the steps to be taken will underscore the solidity of the euro," he added.

Barroso is due to feed the commission's ideas into the next summit of EU leaders at the end of June. They are set to include a banking union - tighter supervision, direct access for banks to the eurozone's bail-out fund and a single deposit guarantee scheme - and stability bonds, a way of mutualising eurozone debt.

The ideas are not new. They are getting a fresh airing as the eurozone crisis continues to worsen. But they remain extremely controversial - with Germany particularly opposed.

However, Barroso indicated that EU leaders' thinking is constantly evolving. "The movement is in favour of more integration in the euro area," said the commission president.

His comments feed into a series of recent statements by EU officials about the need for further economic integration, amid worries that Spain, the eurozone's fourth largest economy, might need a bail-out.

According to Barroso all legal options should be considered, even eventually the legally and politically cumbersome treaty change.

The commission has also come out in favour of allowing the eurozone's permanent bail-out fund, the ESM, to lend directly to banks.

Currently it can only lend to governments which further drives up their debts - a pertinent issue for Spain with a billions-wide credit hole in its banks and a budget deficit that far exceeds euro rules.

"To sever the link between banks and the sovereigns, direct recapitalisation by the ESM might be envisaged," the commission's assessment of the euro area said. But this would require the ESM treaty to be changed and is strongly opposed by Berlin.

The commission's drive for further economic and financial integration comes even as a recent survey by the Pew Research Centre found that in seven of the eight EU countries surveyed, a majority was against giving more budgetary control to the EU institutions.

Barroso noted that only the commission is in a position to give such a rigorous and impartial overview of a country's economic situation and urge "difficult" changes to be made.

He also said that it requires "leadership" and "courage" to explain "what would happen if we don't go for a stronger European Union."

Van Rompuy to draft plan for deeper economic union

EU leaders have tasked council chief Van Rompuy with drafting a plan on deepening the eurozone's economic union. A similar report was issued in 2010, leading to tougher sanctions for deficit sinners.

EU to G20: We will not take 'economic lessons'

The EU is not about to take economic lectures from its G20 partners, the EU commission president said on Monday amid fears the eurozone crisis could put the global economy back into recession.

Spain may speed up EU 'banking union'

The US has joined ranks with EU officials exploring ways to pump eurozone money directly into Spain's troubled banks, with creation of a "banking union" now considered a matter of eurozone survival.

Poland to face EU top court on rule of law

The EU commission is expected to refer Poland to the EU's top court over firing supreme court judges, but Warsaw refused to commit on Tuesday that it will implement future EU court rulings.

News in Brief

  1. UN chief: World suffering from 'trust deficit disorder'
  2. Stalemate in Sweden as parliament ousts prime minister
  3. Migrant rescue ship heading to French port
  4. EU angry at British tabloids on Brexit
  5. UK to allow EU flights in no-deal Brexit
  6. Greek reporters arrested after story on 'mishandled' EU funds
  7. Austrian minister urges police to out foreign sex offenders
  8. ECB's Draghi set to clarify role in secretive G30 group

EU parliament will not budge on office expenses

Hungarian centre-right MEP Livia Jaroka sticks to earlier decision: documents related to the minor reform of the expenses system, requested by EUobserver, should remain secret.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. EU court delivers transparency blow on MEP expenses
  2. Russian with Malta passport in money-laundering probe
  3. Cyprus: Russia's EU weak link?
  4. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  5. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  6. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  7. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  8. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us