Volume XVI, 7-2017
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EESC Corner: EU – A Healthy Monetary Background and Fresh Finance

EESC Corner: EU – A Healthy Monetary Background and Fresh Finance

The EESC has recently prepared a set of four opinions as a part of the White Paper discussion on the future of the EU. Two of them relate to the euro-area economic policy challenges (healthy monetary background) and the prospects for EU financing (fresh finance). Let´s comment on both briefly.

We welcome the progress made in the development of euro area economic policy. We regard as particularly important the circumstances linking the euro area environment with fiscal aspects and the strengthening of its institutional framework. It is essential to have a balanced mix of euro area economic policies, with their monetary, fiscal and structural components properly interlinked. Given the planned regrouping of these policies in line with economic development, especially due to expected monetary policy restrictions, this is becoming an increasingly important factor. We therefore disagree with the European Council’s rejection of a positive fiscal stance and call on it to reconsider this conclusion. At the same time, we recognise that the scope of a positive fiscal stance must be properly directed so as not to increase the still high level of public debt and be targeted at areas generating a clear longterm benefit.

We note the improving economic situation in the euro area and recommend that, in order to maintain and bolster this, crucial steps be taken to stimulate investment and carry out structural reforms that promote both higher productivity and quality jobs. Structural reforms should be implemented more robustly in line with the processes of the European Semester. Moreover, we recommend that the need for structural reform be seen at the euro area or EU level as a whole, not just in terms of isolated structural measures in the various Member States. We strongly back enhanced cohesion in the euro area in the form of both closer coordination of economic and fiscal policy and improved financial intermediation, completing financial union and ensuring the euro area’s greater influence in the global economy. We also take the view that the euro is the currency of the whole of the EU and, in the light of the improving economic situation in the EU, favour again considering the possibility of enlarging the euro area, as it is anticipated that this would have positive impact on both the euro area and its new members.

In the context of the upcoming 2018 economic and policy recommendations, we emphasise the need to launch a debate on the future of EMU. We endorse the approach taken in the reflection paper whereby the basic principle of the EU budget must be to deliver European added value, achieving better outcomes than would be possible for uncoordinated national budgets acting individually. The time has therefore come to abandon the logic of a “fair return”, of dividing Member States into net contributors or beneficiaries, and of ad hoc rebates for individual Member States. The reform of the EU budget must of necessity aim to improve it, overhauling its structure as regards areas of expenditure and own resources, taking account of suitable rationalisation, efficiency and effectiveness criteria and maintaining direct, transparent channels of communication with the public.

Petr Zahradník,
EESC Member, Group – I

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Other articles in this issue:

SME Support Through EFSI Is Successful in the Czech Republic
Retailers Ready to Participate in Commission’s Dialogue on Different Standards
New Export Opportunities in Asia
Dual Standards – We Want to Be a Part of the Solution