To mark Stage 1 of the Deepening of Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), which starts today (1 July 2015), the College of Commissioners had a first debate on the "Five Presidents' Report". The report entitled "Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union" was prepared at the request of the Euro Summit of October 2014 and the European Council of December 2014 by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, together with the President of the Euro Summit Donald Tusk, the President of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz. It was presented at the June European Council.
Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for Euro and Social Dialogue, presented to Commissioners a first roadmap of actions to be taken immediately on the basis of existing Treaties in order to respond to the current challenges to our EMU. This roadmap focuses on the streamlining and better focus of the European Semester, the completion of the Banking Union and an enhanced cooperation with the European Parliament and with national Parliaments. In addition, as President Juncker already outlined in his Political Guidelines presented to the European Parliament on 15 July 2014, proposals will be made in the course of this year.
- for a targeted and stability-oriented review of the 6- and 2-pack, aimed at reducing complexity in the rules and processes, and
- for a consolidated euro area external representation based on Article 138 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
Vice-President Dombrovskis said: "We need to accelerate the work on deepening the Economic and Monetary Union. The Commission will shortly come forward with specific proposals stemming from the "Five Presidents' Report". We specifically intend to accelerate completion of the Banking Union and reinforce Europe's governance framework to enhance convergence and competitiveness."
The Commission will use the coming weeks and months to consult closely with Member States, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and other European institutions, and calls on all stakeholders to participate actively in shaping the completion of EMU.
The Report sets out three different stages for turning the vision of the Five Presidents into reality
- Stage 1 or "Deepening by Doing" (1 July 2015 - 30 June 2017): using existing instruments and the current Treaties to boost competitiveness and structural convergence, achieving responsible fiscal policies at national and euro area level, completing the Financial Union and enhancing democratic accountability.
- Stage 2, or "Completing EMU”: more far-reaching actions will be launched to make the convergence process more binding, through for example a set of commonly agreed benchmarks for convergence which would be of legal nature, as well as a euro area treasury.
- Final Stage (at the latest by 2025): once all the steps are fully in place, a deep and genuine EMU would provide a stable and prosperous place for all citizens of the EU Member States that share the single currency, attractive for other EU Member States to join if they are ready to do so.
To prepare the transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2, the Commission will present a White Paper in spring 2017 outlining the next steps needed, including legal measures to complete EMU in Stage 2. This follows the model of the Jacques Delors White Paper of 1985 which – through a series of measures and a timetable attached to them – paved the way to the Single European Act, the legal basis of the Single Market project.
Delivering a Deeper and Fairer Economic and Monetary Union has been one of the top 10 priorities of President Juncker in his Political Guidelines.
Euro area Finance Ministers who participated in an informal meeting on 27 June noted that "all necessary measures (would be taken) to further improve the resilience of our economies".