Brussels unveils eurozone reform vision despite doubts

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Commission unveiled a raft of ideas to reform the eurozone yesterday, despite the resistance of powerful Germany, which remains without a government.

The commission, the EU’s executive, is pushing through with their proposals, originally billed to be the EU’s answer to the shock of Brexit, but now seen by some member states as an ill-timed and futile exercise.

The ideas follow the heavily trailed state of the union speech by European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker in September and are intended to inspire discussion at an EU summit on the future of the euro on December 15.

They also follow a laundry list of ideas set forth by French President Emmanuel Macron to strengthen the euro single currency, who worked under the assumption that Germany would have a pro-EU government installed by the end of the year.

The reforms will include the idea of creating a eurozone finance minister, launching some sort of budget for a eurozone crisis fighting fund, as well as expanding the powers of the eurozone’s current bailout body into a European version of the IMF. – AFP

However, with a weakened German Chancellor Angela Merkel only now launching a second try at a governing coalition, many fear momentum is gone for bringing change to the euro in the near future. The commission’s reforms will include the idea of creating a eurozone finance minister, launching some sort of budget for a eurozone crisis fighting fund, as well as expanding the powers of the eurozone’s current bailout body, the European Stability Mechanism, into a European version of the IMF.

To beef up the commission’s message, Germany’s representative to the commission Guenther Oettinger will join his French and Latvian counterparts Pierre Moscovici and Valdis Dombrovskis, who hold economic portfolios.