Is the plan for Eurozone budget a step forwards?
Creating a special budget for the Eurozone is widely known to be one of French President Emmanuel Macron's pet projects. At a Eurogroup meeting on Monday the finance ministers of France and Germany presented a joint plan - although according to observers Berlin got its way on most points. Commentators examine whether the initiative brings the EU forward.
European locomotive advancing once again
The proposed budget isn't the last word on the subject but it is a start, Handelsblatt comments approvingly:
“Precisely what form the budget will take remains unclear. But what counts is the political will to overcome differences of opinion. ... The two biggest EU states are once again sitting in the European locomotive. Now they must hook up the other 17 euro states. ... Above all the euro states must decide on a reform of the monetary union in December and at least hold out the prospect of a euro budget. Otherwise the destructive Brexit will completely dominate Europe's political agenda. ... The Eurosceptic populists never sleep, and the EU elections are just around the corner.”
Reform cannot be a goal in itself
Naftemporiki is more sceptical:
“How will this budget be financed, how big will it be and how will the money be allocated? The countries of Northern Europe, which oppose financial transfers, will probably limit their participation. ... The common budget could be a good start, but it wouldn't be enough to protect the Eurozone from the next crisis. Reforming the Eurozone should not be a goal in itself. Rather it should satisfy a pressing need for employment, development, social justice, economic convergence and financial stability.”
The euro club is setting itself apart
Such a budget could put non-euro states at a disadvantage, Polityka fears:
“The project deepens the Eurozone's institutional autonomy and could cause the Union to drift apart, making the Eurozone the centre of decision-making. As long as Poland is not part of the Eurozone that would be bad for Warsaw. The scenario of a 'two-speed Europe' would become reality and relegate Warsaw to Europe's periphery. ... True, as it stands the proposal does not yet seem to pose a threat to Poland. But the question is what will happen when Angela Merkel is no longer German chancellor. Then Macron and the French will become stronger in Europe and the Eurozone will become even more isolated from the rest of the Union.”