After months of chaotic negotiations between Greece and its European creditors, it’s clear that pretty much no-one is happy with the way that the eurozone works.
According to Reuters, reporting German magazine Der Spiegel’s exclusive, finance minister Wolfgang Schaueble is open to the possibility of having a single eurozone finance minister with “substantial financial resources” from Germany.
The Five Presidents’ Report published earlier this year by EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker laid out the possibility of massive further integration, but the power to force it through really lies with the individual countries — Germany’s position on the issue could make or break the idea.
And Schaeuble’s not the only one talking about it.
According to the Financial Times, Italian finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan is thinking along the same lines.
In an interview he said he wants the bloc to move “straight towards political union.” Here’s the FT:
Italy is calling for a wide set of measures — including the swift completion of banking union, the establishment of a common eurozone budget and the launch of a common unemployment insurance scheme — to reinforce the common currency. He said an elected eurozone parliament alongside the existing European parliament and a European finance minister should also be considered.
“To have a full-fledged economic and monetary union, you need fiscal union and you need a fiscal politcy,,” Mr Padoan said. “And this fical pollicy must respond to a parliament, and this parliament must be elected. Otherwise there is no accountability.”
The change would be massive — up until now, though they have been using a common currency, the eurozone has no central fiscal policy at all. As a result, bailouts and other programmes have to be agreed to by all countries, causing the dramatic summits and negotiating spectacles that have been on show for the last six months.
The move might also sideline the European Union countries that aren’t euro members, like the United Kingdom.
Padoan suggested to the FT that with Greece now less of a pressing subject in meetings or European finance ministers, talks about more integration could kick in meetings as early as September.