On May 31, the Commission presented the third of overall five reflection papers. This time focus is on deepening and completing the Economic and Monetary Union. However, there is not much, which is new: the rather technical paper makes a number of concrete suggestions, some of which are already being discussed by the European Parliament. Still, the Commission’s long-term vision until 2025 remains vague.
With the reflection paper on the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the Commission is presenting a another document to accompany the debate on the future shape of the EU, published within the framework of the White Paper on the Future of Europe that was presented in March this year and the speech of Jean Claude Juncker on the State of the Union, which has been scheduled for September.
Following the description of the short, but in the Commission's eyes nevertheless successful story of the Euro and the status quo of the EMU, the Commission explains that further efforts for the deepening and long-term completion of the EMU are of vital importance. According to the Commission, it is only then that upcoming challenges can be met and that “jobs, growth, social fairness, economic convergence and financial stability” can be ensured created.
In contrast to the two previous reflection papers on Globalisation and the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Commission outlines its ideas on the future of the EMU for two periods: proposals, which should be implemented by the end of the parliamentary term 2019 and/or are already dealt with by Council and Parliament, and a long-term, open vision until 2025. With regard to contents, the proposals by the Commission refer to three key areas, namely the Monetary Union, which also includes Banking Union as well as the Capital Markets Union, the strengthening of the EMU through the European Semester, as well as the strengthening of the institutions of the Euro area and the democratic accountability of the Eurogroup.
Long-term considerations for the EMU include the so-called European safe asset, which similar to the idea of Eurobonds would be jointly issued by the Eurozone, or the idea, to establish the presidency of the Eurogroup as a permanent full-time function. Apart from that, there is also the idea of a treasury for the Euro area as well as an own budget, a proposal that has already been discussed in February this year by the European Parliament, based on the Böge-Berès Report. According to the Commission, a treasury could among other be responsible for the economic and budgetary monitoring and the issuing of the safe assets.
Overall, these proposals contribute hardly any surprises to the debate on the future of the EU; much is already included in the Report of the five Presidents from June 2015. However, from the Chamber of Labour’s point of view a fundamental change towards a wealth-oriented economic policy is needed, which also pursues targets such as high quality of life, fair distribution of material wealth, quality of employment, intact environment and crisis prevention.