Radical long-term plans for growth divide opinion

Radical long-term plans for growth divide opinion

EU treasury and greater tax harmonisation among controversial suggestions.


MEPs are to discuss controversial suggestions to create an EU treasury and introduce greater tax harmonisation as a response to the financial crisis.

The ideas appear in a report drafted for the European Parliament’s special committee on the financial, economic and social crisis, alongside calls for the EU to push for a new international monetary system in which the US dollar would be replaced as the international reserve currency.

Pervenche Berès, the French centre-left MEP who drafted the report, acknowledged that her ideas were “too idealistic” for some members of the committee, but said she hoped the recommendations would provide a new vision for the EU. “It is a long-term view, but someone has to do it,” Berès told European Voice. In her view, the crisis showed that “we need more EU” to prevent future crises, meaning greater economic and political integration.


Her report, which will be discussed by the committee on Wednesday (13 April), recommends a mix of political and economic measures to promote competitiveness and growth. She said current plans – for better economic governance, the Europe 2020 strategy, and improving the EU’s single market – were not enough. The EU had to look beyond these ideas to the creation of eurobonds to pay for cross-border infrastructure projects, tax harmonisation and the establishment of an EU treasury within the European Commission to set economic policy.

The report also recommends that the EU transform its Euratom treaty into a ‘European energy community’ tasked with providing cheaper energy for all member states and negotiating energy supplies with other countries.


According to Olle Schmidt, a Swedish Liberal MEP, the report is too fanciful. “Some proposals are not realistic,” he said. An attempt to ditch the US dollar as the global reserve currency was unattainable, as was getting member states to harmonise their tax rates, he said. “These ideas are too far away from what Europeans want.”

Iliana Ivanova, a Bulgarian centre-right MEP, said the report was a step in the right direction, but some of the plans, including the creation of an EU treasury, were “too big a step towards a federal state”.

Roberts Zile, a Latvian MEP from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, said the report was likely to be “seriously amended” to reflect better the views of the committee.

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A vote on the report in the committee is scheduled for 30 May.