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Toward a closer, stronger economic union - 17/11/2011

MEPs meeting at the European Parliament in Strasbourg © EU

Eurozone governments should move quickly to support the common currency, end the debt crisis and forge a deeper economic union, says Commission President José Manuel Barroso, announcing plans for new proposals.

“That is why having a stronger governance of the euro area is vital for the survival and the reinforcement of our common currency,” he told the European Parliament on 16 November. “Markets, investors demand a stronger governance of the euro area. It is not just a political issue for those like me and many of you that share a passion for a stronger Europe. It is indeed now a matter of common sense to have a stronger economic governance in the euro area and of course in the European Union.”

Increased economic coordination will make it easier for governments to more closely coordinate their responses to the EU’s main economic challenges and support efforts to boost growth and jobs.

The EU has already taken a number of steps since the start of the economic crisis. These include a package of six measures to improve budget monitoring and help control public debt.

Last year, the EU also launched the European semester, an annual 6-month cycle during which governments benefit from the input of their EU peers as they formulate national budgetary and economic policies.

The Commission will kick off the next semester on 23 November with the release of an annual growth survey identifying the broad economic policy priorities on which EU governments should focus over the coming year.

Also being proposed are further measures to increase economic and budgetary monitoring for eurozone countries with excessive budget deficits. Countries with systemic debt problems would also be obliged to follow the measures prescribed by their peers in order to get support from the eurozone’s bailout fund.

The Commission will also launch a public consultation on whether the eurozone should be able to collectively issue bonds to raise money for the bailout fund.

More political will and leadership is needed to rebuild confidence and trust – among citizens and in the financial markets, said president Barroso.

“We are indeed now facing a truly systemic crisis that requires an even stronger commitment from all,” he said. “In the future, we will need to go even further on strengthening integration. And this will require treaty changes. And let me be clear: I am in favour of treaty change if it is to reinforce the European Union, the community method, the European institutions and the sense of common purpose.”

President Barroso’s speech – economic governance 2011

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