Eurocrats want EU budgetary union

Updated: 
EU flagEurocrats yesterday made another attempt to centralise the EU's economic policy and to strangle national governments. "Europe's interest in greater economic integration must take precedence over national and electoral concerns, as the only way to ensure greater long-term discipline, which in turn is the only way to growth," the EU said.

Mario Monti, a former EU commissioner and now President of Milan's Bocconi university, joined other academics invited by Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee to outline their ideas on the best way forward for economic governance in the EU.

"The European Parliament can become a house for budgetary transparency and can serve to combat the cartel of nationalism that dominated the last years of economic and monetary union", he said.

Greater integration

Leuven University Professor Paul De Grauwe went further, arguing that EU needs a budgetary union: "Economists have said this for at least 20 years. The current plans in this regard are so unambitious that we can safely say that a lot more needs to be done to avoid another crisis", he said.

An official statement published by the EU said: "They were unanimous on at least one issue - Europe's interest in greater economic integration must take precedence over national and electoral concerns, as the only way to ensure greater long-term discipline, which in turn is the only way to growth. The plans currently on the table show a serious lack ambition."

Monti and Gustav Horn, director of the Hans Bockler Foundation, both argued that the EU needs to boost growth and reduce differences in competitiveness among member states.

Short-termism

"I am worried that the governance package could be tainted by short-termism. We need more long-term discipline and less political pressure. The Commission's role must be increased and the Parliament's position on this is going in the right direction", said Monti.

He also made a sideways snipe at the UK's efforts to cut spending, saying: "We must avoid the mistake of equating discipline with cutting all spending, including long-term investments which lead to growth".

Asked by UK Tory MEP Vicky Ford about how he would classify "a long term investment with a good pay back", Monti admitted it was difficult, but argued that the task is too important not to try.

Fiscal union

Monti said: "A fiscal union may not be required for a successful EMU but some co-ordination is certainly necessary. It is devastating that this is still a taboo. We need a strong European dimension because it is this, and not the nationalistic approach, which will support long term measures."

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