RELAUNCHING THE EUROZONE AND EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY
TIME FOR ACTION!
The Spinelli Group supports Juncker’s State of the Union Speech and his package of proposals to relaunch the European Union and calls for action to implement it by the next European Parliament elections.
The Spinelli Group strongly agrees with Mr Juncker that a renewed pro-European sentiment has spread across Europe and is paving the way for ambitious reforms unthinkable just a year ago. We must seize this opportunity to change the European Union and relaunch European unity using all possibilities within the existing Treaties but also preparing necessary changes to the Treaties. The time for reflexion is over, it’s time for action. Mr Juncker’s ambitious vision of a European Union pursuing closer integration, democracy, rule of law, social justice and global openness is to be praised. The Spinelli Group welcomes in particular Mr Juncker’s proposals to relaunch the Eurozone and European democracy as well as his support for a European Defence Union fully operational by 2025.
The establishment of a European Monetary Fund – within the European Union framework and accountable to the European Parliament as a whole, and not as an intergovernmental body – would be a major step. A Eurozone budget – within the framework of the European Union budget and its parliamentary control system – would support economic convergence in the Eurozone. Even more so if it was sizable and could be used also for European investments in European projects and if it was funded with more European own resources. It would also accelerate accession to the Euro by the remaining countries committed to join, by supporting the convergence of their economies. A European Economy and Finance Minister – acting also as Vice-President of the European Commission and chair of the Eurogroup – would strengthen Eurozone’s governance and facilitate national structural reforms. Even more so if such a Minister would have the competences to manage a true economic policy, for the Eurozone and the EU as a whole, and not only coordinate national policies.
President Juncker’s proposal to create a more efficient and democratic Union, able to ensure more democratic participation and increased solidarity between Member States and citizens, are highly welcome. Electing some members of the European Parliament in pan-European transnational lists and a European constituency would strengthen the European elections, the creation of European political parties and the development of a European public space. Continuing the Spitzenkandidaten system for the upcoming European Parliament elections would reinforce the democratic legitimacy of the European Commission. Citizens Conventions, as initially proposed by President Macron, to debate and prepare the reforms of the Union would help increasing citizens’ engagement in the European construction. Accountability and transparency in the Euro governance and its bodies are a must for preserving citizens’ faith in the Euro. Extending qualified majority voting to foreign policy and taxation could bring policy breakthroughs in areas long hampered by the straightjacket of unanimity.
Many of Mr Juncker’s proposals can achieve their full potential only with a radical change in the institutional and democratic structure of the EU. The importance of institutions and the need for changes to the Treaties, soon and not in a distant future, should not be dismissed. The EU needs to find the courage to reform its institutions and open up the process to debate and citizens’ involvement.
The Spinelli Group calls upon all Members States and the European Council to support Mr Juncker’s proposals and roadmap of reforms until the European elections in 2019.
The Spinelli Group is a network of pro-European and federalist members of the European Parliament launched in September 2010 by Guy Verhofstadt, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Sylvie Goulard and Isabelle Durant. Today its group in the European Parliament is co-chaired by Elmar Brok and Jo Leinen, supported by a Board consisting of Jan-Philipp Albrecht, Brando Benifei, Mercedes Bresso, Danuta Hübner, Ulrike Lunacek, Tom Vandenkendelaere and Guy Verhofstadt. The Group promotes closer European economic and political integration as an answer to Europe’s challenges.
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