Note: This opinion column was published on June 27th, 2012 together with JEF-Strasbourg, ahead of the European summit of June 28th and 29th, 2012.
We, European citizens, involved in the association “Young European Federalists” in Strasbourg and animating the blog “Au Café de l’Europe”, militating in favour of a deeper European integration, wish to address our expectations and hopes to you, as the European Council of June 28th and 29th, once more deemed as crucial, is nearing.
Aware of the difficulties currently faced by several countries and of the sacrifices required from their people, worried about the rise of the populisms and the political extremes, we express the wish that you will at last adopt courageous and ambitious measures to tackle the debt crisis faced by the EU.
Responsibility and solidarity go hand in hand
The reality shall not be concealed: if countries in trouble are right to expect solidarity on the European scale, it is normal that it goes with new rules for “common life”, at least within the Euro area.
The elected representatives of each State must be aware that national decisions can have an impact on the wholeUnion, and must act consequently. Indeed, European-wide solidarity is not intended to make off the recklessness of some political choices or the rejection of much needed structural reforms.
Furthermore, the European Treaties prohibit in theory financial solidarity among Member States. Therefore, without giving way to panic and urgency, it is highly advisable to start now the necessary process of reforming these Treaties.
A European response to the crisis
The State’s individual responsibility must be guaranteed by inspection at the European level. So, we support a deeper supervision of national budgets by the European Commission and other concerned institutions. What is more, we advocate a real coordination of national budgetary policies, in order to create a counterpart to the Economic and Monetary Union that unified the monetary policy and entrusted it to the ECB. Besides, in case of continuous violation of European rules, we approve that the budgetary policy of a Member State should be put under European supervision, in order to avoid that a situation like Greece’s one happens again.
We even suggest to go further and to establish a common budgetary policy relying on a substantial European budget (currently, it represents only 1% of the European GDP!) that could be used to finance measures favouring growth, while the Member States would work towards more balanced public finances. This European budget could be partially funded by Eurobonds.
We agree with the progressive introduction of Eurobonds, Eurobills and Project bonds, in parallel with the deepening of the European integration, as mentioned above.
While being aware that growth should not rely only on new debt that would be a burden for future generations, we call to test Eurobonds on the short term (e.g. one year, as Sylvie Goulard, MEP, suggested it) at the benefit of troubled countries that respect the targets recommended by the EU and implements much needed structural reforms, e.g. Mario Monti’sItaly.
Strengthen the European institutions to ensure democratic legitimacy
This progress towards a federal Europe cannot happen without democratic legitimacy. This is why we condemn any intergovernmental attempt to get around the European institutions, first of all the European Parliament, directly elected by nearly 500 million citizens.
Ladies and Gentlemen members of the European Council, we suggest aEuropethat serves its citizens, that acts in aid of them. Don’t miss this opportunity to build a stronger, more united and more democratic Europe turned towards the future!