Luxembourg’s finance minister, Pierre Gramegna, on February 28 told the press that his country sees need to speed up the political integration of the Eurozone by creating a European ministerial post for economy and finance.
His comments were in stark contrast to those of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’, who alluded to the further political integration of the monetary union in his State of the Union speech in September. Gramegna, instead, wants to focus on structural reforms, closer in spirit to a rule-based Eurozone. These reforms would include finalising the much-contested banking union and strengthening the so-called European IMF (European Stability Mechanism).
Juncker’s September speech was seen as a call for the immediate political integration of the Eurozone, as put forward by President Emmanuel Macron of France.
At the time, Juncker conceded that structural reforms would require “a European minister of economy and finance,” accountable to the European Parliament, who would then serve as a vice-president of the European Commission.
The creation of a ministerial post would be a bold move towards federalisation, which Juncker believes is inevitable in order to address the ongoing recession in many of the EU Member States. Gramegna, however, remains opposed to further centralisation and believed the Member States should focus on coordinated crisis-management.
Luxembourg boasts the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the EU, according to Eurostat, with 611% over the EU average.