Reding calls for greater EU unity
EUROPEAN COMMISSION vice-president Viviane Reding called for enhanced political union when she appeared before an Oireachtas committee yesterday.
Ms Reding told the European Union Affairs committee that the new European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will “be a new testament to European solidarity” when it becomes operational in October.
“It will act as a sail – pulling troubled economies out of danger and into calmer waters,” she said. The proposed banking union, announced by EU commission chief José Manuel Barroso two weeks ago, would be “our reinforced hull allowing us to weather future storms stronger than ever”.
Ms Reding said the rapid pace of international financial markets had forced Irish and European politics to adapt at a “dizzying pace”. She said every decision needed a summit and every treaty change required ratification by 27 national parliaments, “and in some cases, like in Ireland, even referenda”.
She said it was no wonder that there was a crisis of confidence in the entire European integration project. The current crisis had served as a “sobering” reminder of how the economic decisions of one European state directly affected all the others, she said.
“The recipes of the past of individual and unco-ordinated action have often led to excess of debt and endangered trust and confidence in our economies. These recipes no longer function.”
She said that to stop future imbalances, member states had granted Europe greater powers such as reviewing national draft budgets.
“But this new path raises the question of a political union and the European democracy that must underpin it. This means putting in place a political process to strengthen the democratic legitimacy and accountability of further integration moves.”
Ms Reding said a stronger EU would need to move toward a democratic federation of states that could tackle common problems.