The European Commission (EC) has presented a roadmap of measures for the next 18 months, aimed at deepening the economic and monetary union of the community by 2025. With the proposal, the Commission responds to the priorities set by its chairman Jean-Claude Juncker for the future of the EU.
One of the measures, for example, is the creation of a European Monetary Fund to replace the current European Stability Mechanism, but based on the established architecture of the institution. The creation of the fund has already called for the European Parliament, reminded of Brussels. It is expected to work from mid-2019. The European Monetary Fund will support the Eurozone countries that are in a crisis situation and will act as a “lender of last resort”. The funds from the capital markets as well as money market transactions will be used to raise the necessary funds.
There will also be new budgetary mechanisms to ensure the stability of the Eurozone. These include support for structural reforms and technical assistance (on request), convergence of Member States and support on their way to the Euro, as well as a safeguard mechanism for the banking union.
The membership support will also be provided at the request of the parties and it will cover all policies that lead to better convergence, such as public finance management, improving the business environment, the financial sector, the labor market and the public administration.
“Providing support for Eurozone membership does not mean changing criteria and procedures”, notes the EC.
At a press conference to present new proposals for economic governance, EU Budget Commissioner Gunther Oettinger expressed his willingness to support Bulgaria in this direction technically, financially and with advice. Oettinger noted that for this purpose the EU has a stock of 140 billion EUR, which will be made available, if necessary, to countries wishing to introduce the common currency. He explained that this amount will be available in the next five, seven or more years. The formal proposal on this issue will be made by the EC next year.
EC Deputy Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis explained that the EC expressed its will to support, but that does not mean that a country will be “forced into the Eurozone”. The entry into the Eurozone is an obligation under the accession treaties but does not include a deadline for implementation. States have the freedom to decide for themselves when the time is right.
The EU Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici commented that he has seen many films and his favorite is “The Godfather”. “I was joking about making the countries outside the Eurozone a proposal they can not refuse. I say that I did not say it in the sense of the mafia – it is just a good proposal that states can take advantage of, it is an opportunity. No one will be forced to join the Eurozone”, said Pierre Moscovici.
The European Commission also commented on the presentation of the roadmap that the economic crisis that covered Europe in 2008 has not left the Eurozone. However, it has shown a number of weaknesses in the currency union, and now is the time for their removal. Currently, the European economy is on the rise, unemployment is steadily declining, and an express Eurobarometer survey shows that Europeans’ support for the Euro is growing.
More than 64% of those living in a Eurozone think that the single currency is good for their country. An analogous study in 2016 has seen a significant increase – then 56% of the citizens of a country in the EU’s currency union have approved the Euro. About 74% of respondents believe the single European currency will contribute to the EU as a whole, which is the highest level in 2010-2017.
According to Brussels analyzes, the EU’s commitment to the monetary and economic sectors will increase the number of jobs, promote economic growth and investment, as well as social equality and stability.