Unsurprisingly, the euro crisis has put something of a dent in European integration. Resentment between countries and regions is becoming increasingly pronounced, and what exactly the “European Identity” is remains a mystery to many Europeans. In response to the crisis in confidence Europeans seem to be having in the European project the Future of Europe Group has a plan, more integration.
The most recent meeting of the Future of Europe Group in Warsaw included the Foreign Ministers of eleven European countries who produced a report that proposes changes that will help promote integration. The report accepts that not all of the recommendations reflect the exact thoughts of each of the group's members.
The first recommendation is the introduction of a more unified monetary policy:
The Euro has profound economic advantages and is the most powerful symbol of European integration. Our proposals provide concrete input for the process of EMU reform launched by the June European Council. In doing so, our focus lies on initiatives within the scope of the existing treaties. However, we should not exclude the possibility of treaty changes if this proves to be necessary.
Of course monetary union is not possible without economic union:
We need to overcome the fundamental flaw of EMU – monetary union without economic union. This does not mean that all economic policy measures should be decided at European level. But for certain key economic policy issues of particular relevance for sustainable economic growth and employment and the sustainability of the Eurozone we need the right mix of effective and binding coordination at European level and healthy competition of national systems and more effective ways of exchanging best practice.
It is not all bad news; the report does have at least one half-decent proposal, namely allowing the European Parliament the power to introduce legislation. As it is only the unelected European Commission can introduce legislation, which the European Parliament then debates and amends.
A report I mentioned yesterday showed that only 26 percent of French and 44 percent of Germans feel that “European Identity” means something to them. The euro crisis has done nothing to help foster a pan-continental identity, and it is doubtful that a push for more monetary and economic integration would help. The integration the Europeans have had so far hasn't seemed to have worked