By European People’s Party [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
Today, sweeping changes have been revealed by the European Commission, placing the eurozone on a path towards deeper monetary and economic union.
Brussels aims to create a new fund to help bail out member states who are struggling and introduced a controversial idea regarding a European finance minister.
The said proposals do not go as far as those leaked versions that were previously indicated – something that had drawn criticism from some of its member states. They build on the state of the union speech of Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, in September.
The steps must be taken during a “window of opportunity” in the following 18 months.
Juncker stated: “After years of crises, it’s now time to take Europe’s future into our own hands.
“Today’s robust economic growth encourages us to move ahead to ensure that our economic and monetary union is more united, efficient and democratic and that it works for all of our citizens.”
The commission said that expanding ties within the eurozone would produce more jobs, and better growth and investment.
The commission hailed the return to the prosperity of the eurozone, ten years after the financial crisis – something that it stressed did not begin within Europe. Unemployment is currently at its lowest level since 2008, and economic sentiment is at its highest level since 2000.
Juncker stated: “There is no better time to fix the roof than when the sun is shining.”
The plans arrive as Germany, the biggest economy of the eurozone, is racked with political uncertainty. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has yet to establish a new coalition to govern for the next four years. German media has initiated much of the criticism of plans that were previously leaked.
Leaders of the European Union, except for the United Kingdom, are scheduled to discuss the proposals at a summit in Brussels next week.