World Economy

EU Eyes Monetary Fund

EU Eyes Monetary FundEU Eyes Monetary Fund

Transforming the eurozone’s bailout fund into a European Monetary Fund is a necessary step and one that could be among the next moves enacted as its members seek to strengthen the currency bloc, Slovak Finance Minister Peter Kazimir said in an interview.

His comments come as European Union finance ministers meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, are seeking to capitalize on a favorable shift in the political winds to make headway on uniting the bloc, Bloomberg reported.

“There is a broad agreement on many issues, for instance the transformation of the ESM into a new entity with new tasks is a must,” Kazimir said. “It is the primary candidate for a change.”

Finance chiefs at the two-day gathering will discuss different ways to further integrate the remaining 27 members of the region after the UK’s departure in an effort to both bolster the economy and to better shield the region from future financial turmoil.

The talks come after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker laid out his vision for the future of the EU and as some of the region’s senior figures, including France’s newly elected President Emmanuel Macron, are calling for reform.

“There is a unique opportunity to go forward with the integration of the eurozone,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters on his way into the meeting. Citing stronger economic conditions in Europe, Macron’s victory and the possibility of a fourth term for Chancellor Angela Merkel, Le Maire said in October, they will have “the possibility of pushing integration.”

Still, while many of the ministers echoed his calls for taking advantage of the political situation to move ahead with reforms, some called for caution on how these will affect the EU more broadly.

“The monetary union is the core of a united Europe but at the same time we have the internal market for all 27,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said. “That’s why it was important for us in past years that the European Monetary Union doesn’t split European unity.”

The finance ministers will also discuss ways to develop the economic and monetary union as well as technological innovation in the capital markets and how that affects banking stability.

“The timing is right, the window of opportunity won’t be open for long,” Kazimir said. “After a long period, political cycles of the eurozone’s main players have synchronized.”

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