Robert Harneis-TDO-(FRANCE)- The French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, has given a warning to his fellow ministers in the European Union. He said a failure to accelerate the ‘urgent’ reform of the Eurozone so as to face up to a ‘future economic shock ‘would be ‘irresponsible’, and ‘dangerous’.
Whilst presenting his budget for 2019, he said ‘’I want to use this press conference to tell you the extent to which I believe it would be irresponsible and dangerous for the states of the Eurozone not to accelerate the transformation of the Eurozone, in the coming weeks’.
He added, ‘We have a plan and it is now urgent for us to take decisions. Things are not going fast enough and far enough’.
He warned, ‘It is urgent to put in place reforms of the European Stability Fund and discuss and put in place a European budget for the Eurozone. No one can say that they are unaware of the threats hanging over the Eurozone today. And no one can say that they did not know the absolute necessity of transforming the monetary zone into an integrated economic zone, capable of standing up to any future economic shock or financial crisis.’
The European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has also made a number of appeals in recent weeks for a reform of the Eurozone this year. President Macron when a candidate for election himself commented that ‘if the Euro is not reformed it will not exist in 10 years’.
The French Finance Minister also warned about the international tensions that pose a threat to the European economy. ‘The risk of a trade war between the United States and China is greater than ever. Certain emerging economies like Turkey and Argentina are faced with a major crisis and others could face crises’.
Referring to Italy he said ‘There is no need to stress the many uncertainties that the Eurozone faces depending on the budgetary choices to be made by some of our major European partners.’
The message was aimed at Germany where Angela Merkel is in a fragile situation since the electoral success of the anti Euro Alternative for Germany (Afd) party. What Le Maire calls reforms, in plain language, means money transfers from the economically successful German tax payers to the less successful southerners in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. There is little chance of any German government agreeing to this in the immediate future.