More integration of the euro area means also more economic and political power for its Member States

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The President of the EESC's ECO Section attends a lecture by Thomas Wieser, President of the Eurogroup Working Group, on the topic "Tough nuts to crack for the Eurozone – Would a stronger move towards integration be the solution?"

On 15 November 2016, Thomas Wieser, President of the Eurogroup Working Group, gave a lecture on the future integration of the euro area at the Representation of the State of Hessen to the European Union. The EESC was represented by Joost van Iersel, President of the ECO Section.

Mr Wieser painted a not-so-rosy picture of the current state of affairs of the Eurozone, in which questions on the future EMU architecture dominated over clear answers and shared approaches. He situated the state of the Eurozone in the context of a range of crises the EU was facing. Those are interlinked to a certain degree. Mr Wieser underlined that, over the last decade, the Eurozone had suffered from serious drawbacks and moments of crisis. Fortunately, it survived, while the decision-making framework gradually improved. However, in Mr Wieser's view, an open discussion on the dilemmas in policy-making as well as on the deepening of the institutional framework is indispensable. A hot point for discussion is, for instance, more Community-method or sticking to intergovernmental solutions.

At the current stage, deeper coordination is the least common denominator needed to safeguard the euro. Political developments such as the ones in the UK and the USA have proven that much of what had been achieved over the last 50 years was put into question, which makes a discussion on EMU deepening even more pressing. More integration means a better ground for economic strength, which would generate more political power, and by that, more self-determination. According to Mr Wieser, the EU, and more specifically the Eurozone, must generate more economic solidarity, taking also into account the need for more flexibility in carrying out policies. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that economic performance remains to a large extent rooted in the policies of the individual Member States, which underlines the need for convergence of national policies. It is desirable that future policies are defined within certain parameters, striking the balance between one's own responsibilities and shared responsibilities among the Eurozone Member States.

Following the lecture, Mr van Iersel had a short exchange of views with Mr Wieser and invited him to participate in one of the next ECO section events debating the issue of EMU deepening.



Photo credits: Hessische Landesvertretung/FKPH