Non-Eurozone EU Leaders To Gate Crash EMU Summit Wednesday

Author: Market News International | Category: News

BRUSSELS (MNI) – A separate meeting of all 27 European Union
leaders will now take place before the already-scheduled summit of the
17 Eurozone countries on Wednesday evening, amid growing concerns that
plans for deeper economic integration among euro-using nations could
marginalise the EU countries that don’t use the common currency.

EU leaders on Sunday said they were “exploring the possibility” of
“limited treaty changes” to facilitate deeper fiscal and economic
integration between countries that use the euro.

Any changes to the treaty, however, would require the approval of
all the EU’s members.

“It is normal that those who share a common currency must take some
common decisions related to that currency,” said Herman Van Rompuy, who
chairs the meetings of EU leaders.

“It is very important to safeguard the integrity of the single
market of the EU 27,” he warned. “It gives the union cohesion and is the
very foundation for our prosperity. That is why it has been decided that
the 27 will meet before the 17 on Wednesday.”

The statement agreed on by EU leaders on Sunday emphasized that “a
level playing field among all member states, including those not
participating in the euro,” must be safeguarded.

The wording reflects clear concerns from non-Eurozone EU capitals
that economic governance reforms seen as vital to preventing future
crises could lead to the creation of a two-speed Europe.

“We went into the EU to get our say and we want to have that also
in the future,” Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said ahead of
the meeting on Sunday morning.

“Treaty change is not necessary, there are other options
available,” he said.

“To make a treaty change takes a long time and it is uncertain to
me what we would gain. We face the possibility of political unrest in
many countries so we should consider other possibilities,” Reinfeldt
said.

Public support in Sweden for the national currency “has never been
so high as it is now” and Sweden is “very far from entering the Euro,”
Prime Minister Reinfeldt said.

Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, also warned that
any treaty changes would have to be very narrow or risk being rejected
by voters.

“I don’t think we should propose rapid treaty changes because it
would not be accepted by our citizens,” Buzek said. “If any treaty
changes are necessary, and I’m quite sure they will be, they should be
limited to strict topics like to build Europe economic governance and
economic union.”

In a reflection of governments’ wariness about the ongoing
discussions on governance reform, which also is seen as less pressing
than other measures to tackle Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, Van Rompuy
and EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso have delayed governance
proposals, originally due this weekend, until December.

EU leaders also decided that for now Van Rompuy should officially
chair the summits of euro area leaders, in addition to the full EU
meetings, in part so that he can “keep non-euro area member states
closely informed.”

The move is a victory for the Eurozone’s larger countries, which
are resisting calls for economic governance oversight to be concentrated
in the hands of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body.

EU lawmakers earlier this month adopted new legislation to enhance
fiscal and economic coordination, including near-automatic sanctions for
countries that violate the rules.

EU leaders Sunday also agreed to prioritize and fast-track
already-proposed EU legislation that could boost economic growth and job
creation, such as initiatives to tear down remaining single-market
barriers within the bloc and structural reforms to reduce the regulatory
burden faced by smaller companies.

–Brussels Bureau: +324-9522-8374; pkoh@marketnews.com

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