Benoît Cœuré and Jörg Asmussen, Members of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, address future reform of the European banking system.
Speaking in a joint interview in French Daily Le Figaro, the leading bankers addressed the next steps needed to guide the European economy out of crisis.
“The crisis has been a step backwards [a setback] for the European economy, but the underlying problems, such as declining trend growth and unsustainable social promises, were there before,” said Cœuré. “The crisis has only uncovered them and has shown the need for answers more clearly and more urgently.”
Asmussen outlined the way forward: “We have a strategy in Europe that is based on stable prices, sound fiscal policies and growth and employment-enhancing structural reforms. It will take some time to see the positive effects, but I don’t see any viable alternative.”
They warn of the dangers of rising nationalism and the temptation to defend narrow national interests, urging progress on banking union. “[banking union] is the most important step to be taken in European integration since the inception of the euro,” said Cœuré. “It will have far-reaching consequences for national economic models and national legislation.”