EU head seeks better supervision of economies

The head of the euro countries wants to boost surveillance over national economies, including by allowing the EU's executive arm to warn those not up to scratch, according to a letter yesterday.

Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, in a letter to finance ministers on the eve of a meeting in Brussels today, also said he wants to boost the 16-nation area's influence among international institutions.

"The Eurogroup should pursue broader economic surveillance, both to identify individual priority issues for each of our member states and to establish a coherent framework for action to enhance the performance of the entire eurozone economy," wrote Juncker, who is also premier of Luxembourg.

"The European Commission should not hesitate to address a warning to the member state" not respecting criteria and commitments, he said. "Following the issuance of a warning by the commission, Eurogroup should have a frank discussion with the state concerned with a view to ensuring that effective action is taken."

Juncker is widely expected to win a new 30-month mandate today to lead the single currency bloc. But several countries, among them France, have said they want more from Juncker than in the past, notably to promote better coordination of economic policy among the members. Already in charge of the grouping in its semi-informal guise since 2005 Eurogroup has acquired formal recognition under the Lisbon Treaty that entered force in December.

 

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