EU’s efforts to find a ‘common voice’

Friday, 2018-06-22 16:58:52
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Migrants wait to disembark from Aquarius in the Sicilian harbour of Catania, Italy, May 27, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO - The Euro Summit is scheduled to take place at the end of this month to find a common voice on vital issues such as the restructuring of the Eurozone and measures to deal with the immigration crisis which are posing huge challenges for the Old Continent.

Restructuring the Eurozone to ensure that it does not repeat the ‘economic catastrophe’ that broke out ten years ago has always been a problem for the European leaders. However, finding a common voice on the issue has never been easy. There are still many differences between the two leading countries of the EU, Germany and France. While French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for the consolidation of strength and solidarity in the EU, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed Berlin's policy that the taxpayers in the richer countries should not pay for the failures of governments in poorer countries.

Fortunately, on the eve of the forthcoming summit, the EU’s ‘big brothers’ reached a consensus on the Eurozone issues and began preparations for the restructuring process. Accordingly, the two leaders of Germany and France agreed to strengthen integration in the Eurozone and improve the current financial framework in order to stabilise the level of public debt in order to help the regional economy develop in a sustainable and healthy manner.

Speaking after a discussion with President Macron, Chancellor Merkel said the Eurozone reform was the thorniest issue. The German Chancellor was also optimistic that the two sides are working on a new chapter aimed at ensuring that the Eurozone budget would be used to boost investment and consolidate the Eurozone. Meanwhile, the French President upheld the view and said that the Eurozone budget is “real” and will have revenue as well as annual spending. He also expressed his hope that the Euro-area budget would be put into use in 2021 and could help the member countries overcome difficulties.

Assessing France and Germany’s efforts to reform the Eurozone, President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi said things are on the right track. Meanwhile, analysts said that France and Germany, which now account for roughly 50% of the regional economic output, are considered as a key element in the reform efforts. Therefore, the two countries’ agreement on the Eurozone reform is considered an important factor in reaching a common stance of the EU at the upcoming summit.

However, the agreement between France and Germany on the Eurozone reforms has yet to ensure that all EU members will be able to overcome their differences at the forthcoming conference, as there are still many other issues that are causing a division in the EU. Of which, the immigration policy is the most complicated issue. The influx of immigrants into the EU has created a crisis among the member countries. The French President earlier this week called on Europe to address the challenges related to migrants, while the German Chancellor urged the EU to organise and manage immigration issues in accordance with the common rules and standards of the bloc, especially in identifying immigrants. According to Chancellor Merkel, this is the deepest concern of the EU member states in order to maintain and secure a united EU in major issues related to foreign policy, migration and immigration.

In this context, finding a common voice remains a huge challenge for the EU leaders at the summit later this month. The conference was also seen as the final opportunity for the European leaders to convince voters on their ability to fulfil commitments of the bloc before the next Elections to the European Parliament in May 2019.