L'eurozona verso una nuova governance: il rapporto dei 5 presidenti e il ruolo dell'Italia

01/07/2015, Rome

IAI President Ferdinando Nelli Feroci chaired the conference on the report of the five EU Presidents regarding the completion of the European monetary and economic policy. The seminar was attended by IAI Vice President and former Minister of the Economy Fabrizio Saccomanni, Professor Franco Bruni and Senator Paolo Guerrieri.

Saccomanni retraced the evolution of the governance of the eurozone, from 2012 to today – a period which has witnessed stronger and weaker determination in defending the euro. The report of the five Presidents, issued on the end of June, seems both deceptive, in that it presents the resolution of current problems over a ten-year span - thus giving the impression that Europe has until 2025 to solve these issues, and in some ways misleading, since a much more federal structure is needed in order to be able to undertake the desired economic and political union.

The report invisages two main phases of action: the first one concerns the completion of the banking union, through the strengthening of the instruments for solving banking crises and other institutional innovations; the second aims at reinforcing the convergence process between Union and national policies.

What is missing from the report? Mainly, greater attention to counter-cyclical policies: there are only brief mentions of the stabilisation function of the ‘Juncker plan’. More generally, according to Saccomanni, the report represents a missed chance: it could have been used more effectively to give a strong signal in the current period of European crisis and to hypothesize a real solution.

Professor Bruni stated that the report’s deficiencies were caused by inter-governability issues: the Treaty of Maastricht distorted the model of integration, making it almost impossible to implement. Moreover, it is worth considering the widespread dissatisfaction of European citizens and the increasing number of Eurosceptics, fuelled by the malfunctioning of the Union: the cynicism towards the EU needs to be dealt with through a political action from above. Finally, the professor highlighted that the four main chapters of the report, namely on economic, financial, fiscal and political union, will only work if there is a sufficiently strong will to proceed with a discretionary communitarian policy within the first three.

Senator Guerrieri specified that the urgency of the agreement with Greece shows how the Union is still only at half-way in the process of creating a monetary zone. If a new economic and political crisis were to arise, the Eurozone as it is today might not be able to cope with it. The widespread optimism in Brussels has predicted a upswing in growth in Europe, taking for granted the conditions needed to exit the crisis. In fact, more caution and realism are needed: for the moment, the upswing is only slight and unable to assure a real exit from the economic crisis.

The Senator further recalled that the European integration process does not allow countries to withdraw from the EU, but only allows them to withdraw from Euro-policies (possibility that was included in the report). However, if membership in the monetary union were to become reversible, this would cause a noticeable weakening of the monetary area. The crisis of the European debt is fuelled by the fragility of banks: the banking union – undertaken far too late – is indeed an incomplete mechanism. The process of strengthening and integration has to be started without further hesitations or delay.

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