Sunday

20th Jan 2019

Northern EU states to minimise euro reform

  • Euro is "relevant to all and should therefore be discussed and decided by all" (Photo: snorski)

Eight northern EU states have gone against France on euro reforms after the German coalition deal cleared the way for talks.

The EU should avoid "far-reaching transfers of competence to the European level" as it sought to "regain public trust" in the wake of the financial crisis, the finance ministers of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Sweden said in a joint paper published on Monday (5 March).

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

"Decision making should remain firmly in the hands of member states," on issues such as the use of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a bailout fund, or the creation of a European Monetary Fund (EMF) to handle future bailouts, they said.

They said the strength of the euro depended, above all, on "decisive actions at the national level" to comply with EU rules on debt and budgets, and that these national actions "should have priority over far-reaching proposals".

They also said decisions on euro reforms should be taken in an "inclusive format" with the nine non-euro EU states and that any new initiatives "should be open on a voluntary basis to non-euro area countries".

The euro was "relevant to all and should therefore be discussed and decided by all", the group said.

The mixed group includes non-euro sates (Denmark and Sweden), small EU states that suffered in the financial crisis (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ireland), and a wealthy EU founding nation (the Netherlands).

They spoke out after a German coalition deal, announced on Sunday, cleared the way for negotiations on euro area reform to start in earnest.

France, last year, called for "far-reaching" changes that would give EU institutions more power over the single currency, creating what French president Emmanuel Macron called a "multispeed" Europe.

These included a joint eurozone budget overseen by the European Parliament and a common finance ministry in the EU Council in Brussels.

German chancellor Angela Merkel agreed a less radical agenda in preliminary talks in January with the centre-left SPD party, which joined up with her centre-right CDU/CSU party at the weekend for another four years.

Merkel did not back Macron on a eurozone budget, but did go further than the northern group, saying that the future EMF should be a fully fledged EU institution under EU parliament control instead of an intergovernmental body.

The euro reform talks were triggered by Brexit, with EU leaders to return to the subject at a summit in March - one year before the UK leaves the bloc.

The northern group said the EU needed to continue reforms despite the "benign economic conditions" in early 2018.

It said the EU should prioritise completion of the banking union and of the single market and pursue an "ambitious free trade agenda".

It listed several technical steps to prevent EU banks from going bust, including new rules on how much creditors would have to pay to "bail-in" lenders and how to treat non-performing loans.

Commission tells Macron to pick political side

A European Commission paper calls on parties to show their colours before the May 2019 parliament elections, and to choose their successor to Juncker before the end of 2018.

German coalition deal aims for 'Macron-lite' EU renewal

Merkel and Schulz clear the first hurdle of coalition talks, but the SPD's full membership backing is still needed. The likely coalition parties express support for Macron's eurozone reform ideas, but remain cautious.

Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks

Angela Merkel - who started her fourth term as Germany's chancellor earlier this week - is wasting no time on big issues like eurozone reforms. On Friday she is meeting Emmanuel Macron where the two will seek common ground.

News in Brief

  1. EU trade commissioner asks for green light for US talks
  2. Slovakia's commissioner takes unpaid leave to run for presidency
  3. Minority elects Lofven as prime minister of Sweden
  4. Putin opposes EU prospects of Serbia and Kosovo
  5. Tsipras launches campaign to ratify Macedonia deal
  6. US-EU meeting in doubt after Trump cancels plane
  7. Germany and China to sign pact on finance cooperation
  8. Labour divided on second Brexit vote plan

Opinion

Lost in Brexit chaos - abortion rights in Northern Ireland

Labour MP Diana Johnson has brought a private members bill to Westminster that proposes to decriminalise abortion in the whole of the UK, which means that, if successfully passed, current provisions for Northern Ireland will also be repealed.

May on whistle-stop EU tour to seek new backstop pledges

The British prime minister dramatically delayed a parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal at the last minute, as she faced defeat. Theresa May will now speed-tour EU capitals to try to secure further political guarantees.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Aachen treaty and Brexit endgame This WEEK
  2. Germany led way on EU rights protection
  3. How to troll the European Parliament elections
  4. MEPs in Strasbourg: everywhere but the plenary
  5. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  6. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  7. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  8. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us