“Van Rompuy proposes European Ministry of Finance”, announcesLa Repubblica in its report on the document drafted by the President of the European Council ahead of the next European summit on 18 and 19 October in Brussels. According to the Rome daily, the proposal will take into account responses to 13 questions on the future of the EU which Van Rompuy submitted to leaders of member states. The questions focus on “four pillars”: “greater integration in the financial sector, budgets, economic policy, and democratic legitimacy in the EU”.
With regard to financial integration, Van Rompuy is proposing to go beyond the banking union which is currently under discussion. He avoids mentioning eurobonds, but instead talks about a “central Eurozone budget”, which “could undertake limited issues of shared debt”. However, the project is more disappointing on the issue of political integration, and there are no references to the federalist model which figured large in Commission President José Manuel Barroso’s State of the Union Address on 12 September.
In short, concludes La Repubblica —
… the report is an attempt to strike a balance between more austerity and solidarity in order to overcome the crisis. Brussels will be granted more powers over national budgets in exchange for the issue of European bonds. The process will be slow to ensure that Angela Merkel can make it palatable to German politicians and citizens. Van Rompuy does not raise the question of treaty reform, for fear that the German Chancellor may demand more austerity measures in the immediate future, and the issues of eurobonds and risk sharing will be tabled in slow paced negotiations on a further treaty so as to ensure that they do not impinge on German elections in the autumn 2013.