Graham Bishop’s Plan for a Temporary Eurobill Fund as a Stepping Stone to Stage 2.
The plan  provides a concrete mechanism to:
Bind the euro area into economic policy co-ordination and convergence; deepen the financial integration inherent in CMU; and buttress financial stability.
Be initiated in Stage 1 as a modest stepping stone; be scaled up in Stage 2 towards becoming a de facto European Treasury with Communautaire political governance – perhaps even providing a modest `fiscal capacity’.
Be easily reversed (even to extinction) within two years.
The Five Presidents’ Report in June laid out a two-stage process to completing EMU, and the Commission’s October Communication added much detail to the Report’s principles, which included “the European Parliament should organise itself to assume its role in matters pertaining especially to the euro area... However, as the euro area evolves towards a genuine EMU, some decisions will increasingly need to be made collectively while ensuring democratic accountability and legitimacy… A future euro-area treasury could be the place for such collective decision-making.”
The Report also proposed a fiscal stabilisation function for the euro area with guiding principles “It should not lead to permanent transfers between countries… should not undermine the incentives for sound fiscal policy-making … be tightly linked to compliance with the broad EU governance framework… should not be an instrument for crisis management and should help to prevent crises - making future interventions by the ESM less likely.”
The Temporary Eurobill Fund could be operational quickly and, in due course, the political governance could reflect the Community method so that its European Treasury function could indeed become the locus of European “collective decision-making” between the European Parliament and Eurogroup. The revamped European Semester process could readily provide a mechanism to manage some of the `European’ liabilities created by the TEF. Accountability to the European peoples, and corresponding liability for `moral hazard’, would both be at the European level.
Beyond the direct benefits to financial integration and stability, this Eurobill plan can provide a concrete mechanism state-by-state: (i) to reward good economic `homework’ (ii) penalise lack of effort (iii) operate with the grain of the markets to graduate the carrot and stick incentives for each state and (iv) minimise the eventual costs if a state insists on pursuing economic policies that are likely to end `badly’. It could be operational in time to take over euro area `solidarity’ when the ECB’s QE programme winds down and interest rates normalise.
© Graham Bishop
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