Merkel open for further EU integration
BERLIN GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed on Thursday that she wants more European integration and that there “cannot be a ban on ideas” in looking at ways to strengthen the bloc, especially the embattled 17-nation eurozone.
Merkel’s comments came a day after the EU Commission proposed the creation of a central authority with the financial muscle to fix its broken banks.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi echoed that call on Thursday, saying national regulators have repeatedly underestimated the problem of troubled banks, dealing with it in “the worst possible way.” “We need to further develop the European Union, particularly the eurozone,” Merkel told reporters after a summit of government leaders from countries around the Baltic Sea in the eastern German city of Stralsund.
“I have always said that we need more Europe and that this will mean that more powers will be given to the EU Commission,” she added. Merkel stopped short of endorsing the plan floated by the Commission for a central banking authority, which would require changes to the EU’s treaties, a lengthy procedure.
“There are steps of integration that will require treaty changes. We are not there today, but regardless, there cannot be a ban on ideas,” she said.
Merkel, the leader of Europe’s biggest economy, also defended the EU’s recent treaty enshrining fiscal discipline, saying it is merely a first step in enhanced European integration that must be followed by other measures later. The treaty’s approach of “fiscal consolidation, budget discipline, structural reforms and growth” was also shared by her counterparts from nine countries, a deputy prime minister from Russia, and the European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso gathered in Stralsund, Merkel said.