Brian Hayes MEP today (Wednesday) said that Ireland must be prepared to actively engage with the Eurozone reform proposals published today.
“While Brexit has captured everyone’s attention this week, we cannot lose sight of the day job in Europe and the other major issues on the table. Reform of the Eurozone is a key plank in the EU’s Future of Europe vision, as a way of making the economic bloc stronger and more resilient to future crises.
“Ireland must be at the forefront of shaping the debate on the future of the Eurozone. Completing the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) will be a key driver of the future of Ireland’s economic success, given that the Eurozone is our biggest trading partner.
“Today the Commission has proposed a package of new measures to reform the Eurozone. In Ireland, we need to examine these proposals with an open mind and with a forward looking perspective. We have to be prepared for any future shock and we need to build into our economic planning much more certainty, especially in the area of stable public finances.
“There are certain proposals that we should rightly be sceptical about. The proposal for a new Eurozone Finance Minister frankly does not make sense. There is absolutely no added-value to this. We already have the Eurogroup, currently chaired by Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who coordinates economic policy among Eurozone countries where it is necessary. This has worked well. We do not need an extra player on the pitch – this will make our economic decision making more complicated and bureaucratic at a Eurozone level.
“The proposal for a new European Monetary Fund has certain merits – it adds to the firepower of the current European Stability Mechanism and may prove instrumental in assisting small Member States when they find themselves with excessively high debt or deficit levels.
“Eurozone growth has been one of the surprise success stories of 2017. So many commentators had predicted the failure of the euro but the bloc is now powering ahead and looking more positive and growing faster than either the US or UK. We should use the opportunity to make it stronger and more resilient.
“Through these reforms, Ireland has the opportunity to become a core Eurozone Member State within the next 10 years. This is something we should strive for. It involves getting our debt well down below 60% of GDP as well as slashing our deficit. Minister Donohoe has rightly committed to getting Ireland to a balanced budget next year- this is a major priority that will put us on the path to becoming a core Eurozone member.”