Barroso not in favour of 'economic government' for eurozone

2nd June 2010, Comments 0 comments

EU Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday voiced opposition to a French-led proposal for an "economic government" for the eurozone, an entity which could marginalise his role.

"You don't reinforce the Growth and Stability Pact (EU budget rules) by diminishing the credibility of the community institutions and the community method," Barroso told a press conference in Brussels.

"It's not with new institutions that we are going to do that," he added, warning that such new structures "could bring new confusion."

While Barroso did not specify exactly what he did not like, a source said the commission opposed the French initiative even though the idea seems to be gaining currency among member states.

Paris would like to see regular meetings of heads of state and government to run the eurozone.

The most fervent supporters of the idea want to see national economic policies converge, bolstered by a permanent secretariat and a president -- with the current EU president Herman Van Rompuy the logical choice.

That is unacceptable go to the commission, which is the European Union's executive arm.

"An economic government of eurozone leaders backed by a secretariat poses a problem for the commission because it would operate outside the general European system," one European source said.

"It is an initiative to marginalise the commission, which is accused by many governments of being too passive in the face of the financial and economic crises," another European governmental source said.

In Paris Wednesday, the French economy minister fuelled the debate, speaking of the need for "a mechanism of economic government which would allow us to be a real economic and monetary zone."

© 2010 AFP

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