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Five presidents' report: completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union

Report by Jean-Claude Juncker in close cooperation with Donald Tusk, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Mario Draghi and Martin Schulz

Overview

The report outlines a plan to deepen Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

It concludes that the foundations of EMU need to be strengthened to ensure a smooth functioning of the currency union and to allow the member states to be better prepared for adjusting to global challenges. This should enable all member states to benefit fully from their participation in the single currency.

The path towards a more resilient and complete EMU should be open and transparent to all EU member states. The report emphasises the need to preserve the integrity of the single market, which should be completed and fully exploited. 

Roadmap

The report calls for action on several fronts, to be implemented in stages

During the first stage, starting in July 2015, the EMU should be made more resilient by building on existing instruments and making the best possible use of the existing Treaties, in other words 'deepening by doing'.

During the second stage the achievements of the first stage would be consolidated and more far-reaching measures could - under certain conditions - be agreed to complete the EMU's economic and institutional architecture.

The aim is to reach the final stage - a deep and genuine EMU - by 2025.

The report advocates progress on four fronts

  1. economic union: focusing on convergence, prosperity, and social cohesion
  2. financial union: completing the banking union and launching the capital markets union
  3. fiscal union: ensuring sound and integrated fiscal policies
  4. democratic accountability, legitimacy and institutional strengthening: reviewing the political construct of the EMU

In the Council

2016

28 June

European Council meeting

The EU leaders discussed the progress achieved in the different areas of work towards completing the Economic and Monetary Union, including the roadmap to complete the banking union. It endorsed the recommendation on national productivity boards.

17 June

Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council reviewed the progress made on a number of initiatives proposed under first stage of the project. 

It adopted one of the proposals - the Council Recommendation on establishing national productivity boards (originally - competitiveness boards).

The member states are recommended to set up national boards to analyse developments in productivity and competitiveness and related policy challenges. The recommendation has to be transmitted to the European Council for endorsement.

The Council also adopted conclusions containing a 'roadmap' for further work to complete the banking union

The roadmap sets out priorities and milestones for the coming years, covering measures for risk-sharing and risk-reduction in the banking sector and addressing outstanding challenges.

Work will be conducted in three main areas:

  • a European deposit insurance scheme (EDIS)
  • a common backstop to the single resolution fund
  • banking regulations with a view to reducing risks

The Council invited the Economic and Financial Committee to continue examining the initiative on unified representation of the euro area in the International Monetary Fund and present a report to the Council in autumn 2016. 

The European Commission informed the Council of the progress achieved in relation to the Commission decision on the establishment of an independent advisory European Fiscal Board.

2015

18 December

European Council meeting

The European Council confirmed its commitment to working towards completing the Economic and Monetary Union, in full respect of the internal market and in an open and transparent manner.

It asked the Council to swiftly examine the Commission proposals issued as a follow-up to the Five presidents' report. In particular, work should rapidly advance on more effective economic and fiscal governance, the euro area's external representation and the banking union.

10 November

Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council exchanged views on the Commission's first package of proposals  that are part of the first stage ("deepening by doing")  of the plan for the completion of the EMU.

The proposals included:

  • proposal for a Council decision on establishing a unified representation of the euro area in the International Monetary Fund
  • proposal for a Council recommendation on the establishment of national productivity boards
  • European Commission decision establishing an independent advisory European Fiscal Board
  • revamping the European Semester process
  • measures for further strengthening of the banking union, including the establishment of the European deposit insurance scheme
  • improving transparency and reducing complexity of the EU fiscal rules

The proposals were published on 21 October 2015.

15 October

European Council meeting

The European Council took stock of the discussions on the report on completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union. It reiterated that the process of completing the Economic and Monetary Union must continue in full respect of the single market and in an open and transparent manner. 

26 June

European Council meeting

The European Council discusses the report and asks the Council to rapidly examine it.

12 February

Informal meeting of the EU heads of state or government

At an informal meeting, the heads of state or government held an in-depth discussion on improved economic governance and on better implementation of structural reforms on the basis of an analytical note prepared by the four presidents.

2014

24 October

Euro Summit meeting

The Euro Summit invited the President of the Commission, in close cooperation with the President of the Euro Summit, the President of the Eurogroup and the President of the European Central Bank, to prepare the next steps for better economic governance in the euro area.

The European Council confirmed this mandate on 18 December 2014. 

Background

The report builds on the Four presidents' report 'Towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union', published in 2012 at the height of the financial and sovereign debt crisis, which revealed a number of weaknesses in the architecture of the EMU.

In recent years, the EU member states and EU institutions have taken a number of steps to address these shortcomings. They introduced institutional innovations such as the establishment of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) -  a permanent crisis management mechanism, took a decision to activate financial assistance for member states experiencing difficulties, strengthened fiscal and economic surveillance, and put in place two key pillars of the banking union - the Single Supervisory Mechanism and the Single Resolution Mechanism. Many member states have also started ambitious reforms.

The new report considers that the foundations of the EMU need to be reinforced so that all member states can benefit fully from their participation in the currency union.

What is Economic and Monetary Union?

Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) refers to a stage in the ongoing process of economic integration of the EU member states that started in 1957, when the then member states focused on building a common market.

Greater economic integration reflects a long process in the history of the EU which is designed to bring the benefits of greater economic stability, higher growth and steady creation of employment across the EU member states. 

Over time it became clear that closer economic and monetary cooperation was necessary for the internal market to develop and flourish further.

The decision that the EU should establish an Economic and Monetary Union, with the euro as its single currency, was taken by the European Council in Maastricht (The Netherlands) in December 1991. Its principles are laid down in the Treaty on the European Union, also known as the Maastricht Treaty. 

What does the Economic and Monetary Union involve?

  • coordination of economic policies between the member states
  • coordination of fiscal policies
  • a common currency - the euro - with a common monetary policy, implemented by the European Central Bank

Who participates in the EMU?

 All EU member states participate in the economic union - they form the single market and coordinate their economic policies. Those countries that have already adopted the single currency - the euro - have taken a further step in economic integration and also participate in the monetary union.