EU Treaty change as a long-term perspective – preview of European Council: 120 billion euro for growth and employment
"To ensure the further development of the European Union, a Treaty amendment is likely to become necessary", Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann stated with regard to European policy issues in the preliminaries of the EU summit taking place next week at a joint press conference with Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger at the Federal Chancellery today (Wednesday). "We therefore call for establishing a European Convention. Its mission should be to discuss a stronger role for the European Parliament, proposals for the elements of participatory democracy, intensified cooperation on fiscal policy as well as debt management."
Besides closer cooperation on fiscal policy, the EU considers to intensify collaboration among European banks – a project heralded under the name "banking union". "By this we mean to introduce, as a first step, a single European supervisory authority – similar to the Financial Market Authority in Austria – and, in a possible final stage, an EU-wide deposit guarantee scheme. The permanent bailout fund ESM could be given a banking license so that it may work more effectively. A common debt repayment fund could facilitate joint debt management", explained the Federal Chancellor. "Experience tells us that a Treaty change may take between three and five years. The sooner we start, the better."
In the first phase, the about 120 billion euro for a growth package are to come from project bonds, increased lending by the European Investment Bank as well as reallocated EU budget funds. The main aim of these measures is to provide impetus to employment in Europe. "Youth unemployment in Europe has reached alarming proportions. We have to invest in economic growth and competitiveness through education and research to be able to offer fairness and opportunities to young people", emphasised the Federal Chancellor. Such a growth package would be supported by Austria at the forthcoming European Council meeting at the end of June.
Austria would also continue to support the introduction of a financial transaction tax: "After French President Hollande’s election and the latest vote in the German Parliament, the scales tilted in favour of this project."
In response to a question Federal Chancellor stated that in the event of a comprehensive Treaty change, which could be the outcome of this process, the citizens had to be "involved in the discussion at the earliest stage possible and convinced of the common path".