Eurogroup endorses Franco-German proposal for EU budget

EPA-EFE/JULIEN WARNAND

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire (L) and German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (R) hold a joint news conference after a Special Eurogroup Finance Ministers' meeting in Brussels, Belgium, 19 November 2018.

Eurogroup endorses Franco-German proposal for EU budget


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Ahead of an upcoming December summit, the finance ministers of the currency union have reportedly made progress when it comes to reforming the Eurozone after a proposal tabled by France and Germany’s fiscal policy heads, Bruno Le Maire and Olaf Scholz, received the backing of Eurogroup President Mario Centeno.

According to the proposal, the Eurozone should have its own budget in place by 2021, which will include enough financial wherewithal to absorb economic shocks. Both Le Maire and Scholz expressed their hopes that the new proposed budget. “enter into force by 2021”, with Le Maire suggesting that this would help “promote greater convergence” and “have a stabilising function” that would be strong enough to deal with any sudden economic shocks.

Some EU members, however, still need some convincing that the proposal has the strength to serve the purpose that it is intended for, Scholz admitted. “Some (EU members) want to know what the added value is,’” said Scholz.

Prior to the Eurogroup meeting, Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra voiced scepticism, saying the budget seemed “less-than-convincing.” Centeno, however, suggested that the plan could lead to a breakthrough. “It can be a very strong package to present to the leaders in December,” he said while adding that the size of the instrument is not under discussion at this stage and that the proposal focuses more on the competitiveness and convergence and less on stabilisation.

The proposal, according to Brussels’ Commissioner for Economy and Finance, Pierre Moscovici, has many common points with the European Commission’s own plan, which is based on the proposals of French President Emmanuel Macron

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