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Roadmap for a closer union - 17/10/2012

The Justus Lipsius building, where EU leaders hold their summits in Brussels, Belgium © EU

At their 18-19 October summit, EU leaders will discuss measures to invest more in growth and consolidate the union.

Steps taken so far under the compact for growth and jobs, a plan to invest €120bn in economic stimulus, will come under review.

Commission president José Manuel Barroso stressed that EU countries need to act fast to implement the agreement. Leaders will receive a detailed briefing from the commission on the state of play: what is on the table, where the blockages are and what the next steps should be.

The compact funds will go to projects that develop innovation and skills, small businesses, clean energy, transport and broadband infrastructure. Some €55bn will be redirected from unused EU regional funds to support small businesses and create jobs for young people.

Roadmap to closer union

Leaders will also debate a draft plan for closer economic and monetary union , to be presented by Council president Herman Van Rompuy in collaboration with the presidents of the Commission, the Eurogroup and the European Central Bank (ECB).

The proposals include common rules for supervising the eurozone’s financial sector, keeping national budgets within agreed limits and more closely coordinating economic policy.

As a first step, the Commission has proposed measures for common supervision of the eurozone’s banks involving the ECB as a means for restoring stability.

All EU countries would be able to subscribe to the new arrangement, a stepping stone to banking union.

The Commission has also proposed common rules for intervening when a bank is in financial trouble. These would help reduce the impact of a bank failure on financial markets and the bailout cost to taxpayers.

Fiscal union

The crisis has shown that eurozone countries need to go further in coordinating their budgetary policies to ensure sustainable growth and economic stability.

Eventually the eurozone could develop a shared budget to help members respond to economic and fiscal crises.

More fiscal integration should be accompanied by stronger economic policy coordination and completion of the EU’s single market.

According to president Barroso, this week's discussion should lead to finalisation in December of a roadmap for a banking union, fiscal union, economic union and steps towards political union.

Agenda – European Council meeting 18-19 October
Report: implementation of the Compact for Growth and Jobs

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