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.
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 Committee maintains that lessons need to be learned from recent economic and financial crises and a fresh approach adopted to ensure more effective supervision by national, European and international authorities and increased accountability of financial institutions.
The Committee supports the measures aimed at strengthening banks' capital structure and their ability to finance the economy.
The opinion makes a contribution to analysis and proposals on an issue that the European institutions should deal with more energy, cohesion and above all with a clear and definite will to eradicate the phenomenon.
The opinion deals with European Venture Capital sector, which is closely linked to Europe's global competitiveness. The growth of this sector is an objective of the overall Europe 2020 Strategy and also one of the key priorities of the SME action plan. The EESC welcomes the regulation but draws attention to several limitations, which may weaken the anticipated impact.