Institutional reforms and political integration are needed to help Europe out of the financial crisis, declared German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble earlier today at the Council of Europe.
Schäuble (photo) proposed European treaty changes and the transfer of competences from national to European level, even suggesting the direct election of the EU Commission’s President, as part of a series of reforms needed to restore confidence and democratic approval.
Video: Wolfgang Schäuble’s speech
Podcast : Wolfgang Schäuble speech to the ENA and ESCP Europe conference
“There is no alternative to European integration,” the German Federal Minister for Finance said in his keynote speaker at an event organised by the French National College of Administration (ENA) and ESCP Europe (European Identity and Global Perspective). “We lose together and we win together.”
“We need to create new supranational governance structures. It must be the next logical step towards European unity.”
Schäuble said it was vital to “regain confidence in European Monetary Union through institutional reforms” and claimed structural reforms undertaken by some of Europe’s high deficit countries would lead to greater competitivity and growth.
“Joint debt liabilities” without safeguards, he said, would “eliminate every incentive for high deficit countries to make the necessary efforts to reduce deficits. It would acclimate moral hazard.”
The minister stressed the importance of greater democratic legitimacy in Europe, declaring that this required the “transfer of national competences” to the European level and European treaty changes.
He added: “Nation states have lost the monopoly on regulation but no-one wants to impose a European superstate because it would be an attempt to transfer the monopole to a larger unit.
“If Europe is to grow together and become an effective unit, we urgently need the backing of the wider population in member states.”
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