EU commissioner slams ‘incomplete’ single euro currency
BRUSSELS: The EU’s employment commissioner sharply criticized the “incomplete” single euro currency system on Friday, arguing it undercuts member states’ efforts to fight the economic crisis.
Laszlo Andor’s comments, made in a speech delivered in Berlin, represent a rare attack by a senior EU official on the policies of the 28-member bloc, and its response to three years of debt crisis.
“The point is that macroeconomic instability in Europe stemmed predominantly from the incomplete design of” the single euro currency system, the commissioner said.
“Troubled countries could not unilaterally devalue, could not call upon a lender of last resort and could not count on any fiscal support from other member states that would enable them not just to survive but to stimulate economic recovery,” he said.
In his speech, Andor argued that in order to properly function, the euro zone needed to become a transfer union, with mechanisms in place so that richer states could help poorer ones before problems grew too serious.
Andor said he was “well aware” that explicitly calling for transfers of taxpayer money between member states “may be seen by some as a provocation in Germany.”
But two weeks after European election results saw big gains by anti-EU populists, Andor said bold proposals, including a pan-European unemployment insurance scheme, were required.
“Personally I think that the best way to take account of the European Parliament election result is precisely to explore such innovative proposals,” he said.