The international economic and financial crisis exposed the structural limitations and contradictions in EMU, depriving the euro of its propensity to attract. The EESC believes that the single currency will be unsustainable unless we achieve convergence between the economic capacities of the euro area countries and improve overall competitiveness, objectives which require economic as well as political commitment. The Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance stresses stability without proposing joint financial instruments for recovery and employment. Europe needs to go back to generating wealth in order to redistribute it fairly. Briefly, these are the EESC's four recommendations for completing the euro framework, i.e.
Talous- ja rahaliitto - Related Opinions
The EESC welcomes the Commission communication, which may prove a historic turning point provided that the Council finally musters the courage and the will necessary to adopt and put into effect the provisions that will help to achieve the stated objectives swiftly. Therefore, to achieve a genuine EMU, the EESC believes it necessary in the immediate term (without amending the Treaty) to: launch a European growth initiative; introduce a convergence instrument to help overcome the economic asymmetries between countries; implement a solution to the debt issue; rapidly implement banking union; complete the single market in all sectors; reduce the fragmentation of the credit market.
The Committee gives a guarded welcome to the two communications from the Commission on the introduction of a Competitiveness and Convergence Instrument and on ex-ante coordination of plans for major economic policy reforms. It is disappointing that they provide little additional detail to the concepts already outlined in the Blueprint, which therefore renders assessment difficult. While these two proposals could be a help to Member States in difficulty, restoring growth and capacity to the most needy areas may be hampered or delayed because the focus of concern is that the measures taken must also benefit the euro area as a whole. The Committee questions the added value of a CCI and the additional bureaucratic burden that the proposed ex-ante coordination may bring. The EESC wishes to continue the debate as developments evolve.
The EESC welcomes the establishment of broad economic policy guidelines for the countries of the euro area and supports the formulation of recommendations tailored to each country as well as measures to assess their implementation. However, the Committee regards the current macroeconomic policy mix as unbalanced and calls for a new growth model which takes into account the significance of demand and distributive justice. Stricter regulation of financial markets should be accompanied by a general re-think not only of expenditure, but also of tax systems. Policies should capitalise more on the fact that the negative income and employment multipliers of revenue-related measures are generally more limited than those of spending cuts. The importance for competitiveness of non–price factors is often overlooked.
The EESC welcomes this legislative proposal which ensures the effective resolution of failing financial institutions within the EU, and supports the introduction of harmonised rules regarding intra-group financial support. The Committee also stresses that the Central Banks, including the ECB, have to be involved in the assessment of the recovery and resolution plans, while remaining independent. Professional advice of consumer organisations, trade union representatives, etc., should also be sought. The Committee encourages a greater degree of certainty for the institutions by introducing explicit and more clearly defined rules. The opinion demands more clearly defined rules for the Special Manager (SM) as a highly intrusive early intervention measure, and points out the need for additional clarifications regarding both the bail-in tool and the Resolution Authorities (RAs).
The EESC welcomes a banking union to place the banking sector on a more sound footing and restore confidence in the euro as part of a longer-term vision for economic and fiscal integration. Shifting the supervision of banks to the European level is a key part of this process, which must subsequently be combined with other steps such as a common system for deposit protection, and integrated bank crisis management. A banking union would represent a step towards the euro zone and the EU as a whole embarking on a virtuous cycle overcoming its design flaws and enabling the single market to regain competitiveness.
The EESC feels that the triple objective of the Europe 2020 strategy, i.e., smart, sustainable and inclusive-cohesive growth, is generally appropriate; however, in order to achieve it, a well-balanced macroeconomic policy mix and structural reforms together with more and better instruments are needed. The EU needs to show that it has the necessary political will and a specific vision of substantially closer integration. All the funds and programmes should be more tailored to the social goals of Europe 2020, and work on drawing up a European Territorial Strategy must be accelerated. It is vital to ensure much broader involvement of experts and public opinion in preparing decisions.
The Committee reiterates that the ambitious challenges facing the EU make it not only desirable but also necessary to increase the size of the EU budget so as to revitalise economic growth and employment. Furthermore, it welcomes the moves to improve and simplify the structure of the EU budget, so as to substantially deflate the issues of fair return and horizontal fairness between the Member States, focusing instead on effectively achieving Europe's strategic objectives. The EU budget should be exemplary, efficient, effective and transparent, so that it gains credibility in the eyes of the European public.
The Committee supports the Commission proposal to improve the regulation of rating agencies in order to further eradicate major shortcomings in transparency, independence, conflict of interest, and the quality of procedures used in making ratings. The dependence on these ratings should also be reduced, according to the Committee. Insider trading and market abuse damage confidence in the integrity of the markets, which is an essential prerequisite for a functional capital market. The EESC welcomes the fact that the Commission, with a new proposal, is responding to changing market conditions and is seeking to update the framework created by the market abuse directive.