Plan maps path to full economic, monetary, budgetary and political integration.
Since the start of the euro crisis, the EU has put in place measures for closer economic and monetary ties between its member countries. Closer coordination makes it easier for governments to align their responses with the EU’s main economic challenges, as well as supporting efforts to boost growth and jobs.
These efforts include the package of 6 EU regulations to improve monitoring and control of member countries' budgets and public debt. Other measures seek to increase monitoring of eurozone countries with excessive budget deficits.
In October 2012, EU leaders agreed to build on this work and called for proposals for creating a banking union, fiscal union, economic union and political union.
The Commission has now come up with a detailed plan that sets out the steps to achieve these goals. Over the next 18 months the EU should:
Over the next 5 years, the EU would move further in coordinating tax and employment policies. A common budget for eurozone countries would be available to help those whose economies are under pressure.
This budget could be backed by a ‘redemption’ fund to help countries reduce large public debts to sustainable levels. Countries using the funds would have to follow strict rules. The eurozone could also collectively issue eurobills – bonds to raise funds on the capital markets.
After 5 years, the EU could take the next steps to full banking, budgetary and economic union, followed by political union. These later steps would require modifications to EU treaties and increased democratic accountability.
The plan is the Commission’s contribution to proposals on closer union that EU leaders will discuss at their meeting on 13-14 December.
Along with its blueprint the Commission also issued its 2013 growth survey [109 KB] This marks the start of the “European semester”, an annual 6-month cycle during which EU governments consult each other to coordinate their economic and budgetary policies.