Brussels, 14 December 2012 – The heads of state and government agreed on several courses of action for further strengthening of the European Economic and Monetary Union in Brussels today. Among other things, the agreement between the ministers of finance reached earlier on joint banking supervision as the first step towards the creation of a banking union was approved.
The decisions concerning the future of the EMU were based on a detailed roadmap presented by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, who led the preparation of the action plan under the mandate given to him by the leaders of the European Union at their June summit. The roadmap aims to help prevent a future crisis, ensure economic growth and increase employment.
Although the roadmap focuses first and foremost on the euro area member states, the meeting of the European Council emphasised that it is also open to the countries that have not adopted the single currency.
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip welcomed the approach that heads of state and government had taken in discussions over the future challenges of the euro area – to make concrete decisions and at the same time look to the longer term.
“On the one hand, we will implement specific measures for preventing crises, such as joint banking supervision,” said Ansip. “On the other, we will address the future of the Economic and Monetary Union in the broader sense. This is the right course of action, which will increase the confidence of both citizens and financial markets.
According to Prime Minister Ansip, Estonia is among the Member States who would rather focus on implementing the actions that have already been agreed on.
“The priority for Estonia and many other European Union Members States is to follow the rules that are already in place,” said Ansip.
The roadmap for the completion of the EMU also includes the idea that the euro area member states should enter into agreements with the EU institutions on the reforms that they will undertake.
In Ansip’s words, the agreements on reforms are worthy of further consideration, although one has to take into account the severity of the problems faced by Member States.
“Estonia stands for the principle that such a measure should be clearly linked to the measures already in place, such as the Excessive Imbalance Procedure,” said Prime Minister.
The idea of reform agreements will be discussed in greater detail next spring.
Further integration of the Economic and Monetary Union in the longer term is seen as likely. The Prime Minister stressed, however, that before taking any further principal steps, it would be essential to assess the efficiency of the actions that have already been agreed on.
The President of the European Council will align the positions of Member States on the further steps to be taken and will present them for discussion in June 2013.
The meeting of the European Council will continue on Friday. Then the discussion will focus on the Common Security and Defence Policy and foreign policy issues.