Juncker calls for unified eurozone voice in financial institutions

9 Sep 15

The eurozone needs a stronger and more unified voice in international financial institutions, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has said.

In his state of the union address today, Juncker said that the euro area was the second largest currency in the world yet did not have the ability to speak with one voice on the international stage.

He suggested that the president of the Eurogroup president – currently Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem – would the “natural spokesperson” for the eurozone at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

“Imagine yourselves in the daily work of the International Monetary Fund for a moment. We know well how important the IMF is. Still, instead of speaking with one voice as the euro area, Belgium and Luxembourg have to agree their voting position with Armenia and Israel; and Spain sits in a joint constituency with Latin American countries.

“How can it be that we – Europeans – are jointly major shareholders of global institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank and still up acting as a minority?

“How can it be that a strategically important new Infrastructure Investment Bank is created in Asia, and European governments, instead of co-ordinating their efforts, engage in a race [over] who is first to become a member?”

Eurozone nations needed to “grow up” and put common interests ahead of national ones, the commission president said.

The recent Greek debt crisis brought into sharp relief divisions between some eurozone nations. On the Greek situation, Juncker said what was needed was broad support for and delivery of the reforms agreed last month.

He pledged “tailor-made” technical assistance from the commission to restore sustainable growth to the beleaguered Mediterranean country. The Structural Reform Support Service, established by Juncker in July, will lead work in this area.

“The commission will stand by Greece to make sure the reforms take shape. And we will assist Greece in developing a growth strategy which is Greek owned and Greek led,” said Juncker.

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