European Commission lays out eurozone blueprint | News | DW | 28.11.2012
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European Commission lays out eurozone blueprint

The European Union's executive wants to allow the 17 eurozone member states to move faster toward economic integration than the broader 27-nation EU bloc. Germany, however, opposes the plan.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters in Brussels Wednesday that the crisis-hit eurozone needs its own budget and the ability to issue common euro bonds to grow stronger.

Barroso said the eurozone should be allowed to integrate at a quicker speed than the rest of the 27-member European Union.

Barroso's proposals have already run into stiff resistance from German officials.

"Eurobonds as joint liability - sporting whichever label - are not acceptable for the German government," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle warned separately in Brussels. "It would be an excessive demand for some and under challenge the reform readiness of others."

Barroso said more integration and centralization of decision-making at the expense of national capitals' sovereign power is necessary to overcome the economic crisis. He said eurozone countries should be allowed to pool their debt to protect financially weaker members.

German opposition

Germany, however, has stridently resisted any debt mutualization.

"There are now still important challenges to the success of the European Union, to the success of the single market and to the very existence of the economic and monetary union (EMU)," Barroso said in Brussels.

Barroso presented the commission's "blueprint for a deep and genuine EMU" as part of the preparations for an EU summit on December 13-14 that will tackle the issue of integration.

Barroso set out his proposals in three timeframes: those that can be tackled in the next six to 18 months; those that will take 18 months to five years; and those that will only be achieved from 2018 on, in the final stage of monetary union.

Some experts say that a two-tier EU, in which one group integrates at a faster pace, threatens to isolate EU members that are not part of the euro, such as Poland.

hc/slk (AP, Reuters, dpa)