Debating the EU's Fiscal Union
A common European fiscal policy? Sure, but not too soon. This would be a simple answer to a very generous topic of debate among economists and decision makers.
After the recent global economic crisis, where governments took most of the blame for their excessive indebtedness and for the lack of in-depth structural reforms, European Union (EU) proponents have pushed for a deeper integration of the EMU - “The Economic and Monetary Union”. The EMU is fundamental for the functioning of the EU structure. Economic integration has been historically the main driver for the continuous European integration project.
A common economic space of perennial prosperity has been the chief attractor for new Member States. However, a fully integrated economy is a challenging thing to achieve, unless Member States are rapidly willing to give up their sovereignty in a wide range of fields. The EU started with a “common market” – a common customs union and a free trade approach to commercial policies. Gradually, it came close to being a fully integrated economy but it did not quite make it there yet.
A fully integrated economy is a challenging thing to achieve, unless Member States are rapidly willing to give up their sovereignty in a wide range of fields.
Due to the recent economic crisis, the European Commission – the executive body of the EU – has pushed for a deeper integration of the EMU. The Commission expressed its belief that more integration is needed to strengthen the common euro currency and the EU single market. For this purpose, it has promoted new regulations for the financial and banking sectors; it pushed for an austerity mentality and for a constant fiscal-budgetary discipline for government spending; it openly pleaded in the favor of the private markets. It was rather ambiguous about public investments and has promoted a wide set of new regulations for tax policies.
The EU’s vision for the Fiscal Union
In mid-2015, the EU published a much anticipated document meant to reshape the entire EMU. It was dubbed the Five Presidents’ Report, named so after the presidents in office of the major EU institutions with responsibilities for economic policies (The Commission, The ECB, The Eurogroup, The Euro Summit and The Parliament).
It was several years in the making. The Commission intended for years to accelerate the integration of the euro-zone (euro-area). The Five Presidents’ Report was soon mapped by the Commission in the fall of 2015 for a gradual implementation: On steps towards Completing Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). It is a laborious set of measures, emphasizing a deeper integration of the main components of the EMU’s vast complex of policies, instruments and legislation, on four pillars (named “unions”):
- an Economic Union,
- a Financial Union (based on a Banking Union and a Capital Markets Union),
- a Fiscal Union (our topic of consideration),
- a Political Union of institutional legitimacy.
The end-goal is the gradual transition to a full-size economic union, respectively a higher degree of political legitimacy for EU institutions, based on sovereignty sharing. While euro-area countries that share the common currency are the main object of these proposals, the rest of the bloc is not exempted from the enhanced governance framework.
The move towards a deeper Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) implies transitioning from a system of rules and guidelines for national economic policy-making, as it is currently, to a system based on enhanced sovereignty-sharing within existing institutions at EU level. These EU institutions are to deal with national budgets and national economic policies.
The changeover to the common euro currency involves the sharing of national sovereignty. Participants should receive something in return to feel that they have gained something tangible from the membership of the Monetary Union. Therefore, the EMU should be equipped with instruments for crisis prevention and response, when economic shocks occur. These instruments are to be put in place both at national and EU levels.
In this regard, the Report considers that there should be, on the one hand, a capacity to absorb shocks at national level which would be achieved by elasticity of national economies and by creating sufficient fiscal reserves within an economic cycle. On the other hand, there should be a common response to the impact of shocks through risk-sharing within the EMU. In the short term, it is proposed that a private market risk-sharing through the integration of financial and capital markets, combined with a financial safety net of last resort, needs to be set up. In the medium to long term, it is proposed that a public risk-sharing mechanism should be implemented by an instrument of fiscal stabilization for the euro-area as a whole. Public sharing of risks is, however, subject to the convergence of national economies to the best standards in Europe – the top performing economies.
Public sharing of risks is, however, subject to the convergence of national economies to the best standards in Europe – the top performing economies.
The Economic Union is centered on the concept of convergence. On the assumption that the EMU does not provide for fiscal transfers and that labor mobility is relatively limited, the Five Presidents’ Report proposes the convergence of economic structures and welfare systems. Deepening the EU’s single market, in areas such as goods and services, energy, digital and capital, can facilitate this convergence process. But sustainable convergence implies pursuing policies falling within the category of ‘structural reforms’: to increase the efficiency of the labor and output markets and that of stronger public institutions.
The ultimate objective of the first stage of this integration process is to achieve similarly resilient economic structures throughout the euro-area countries.
To incentivize structural reforms, the Report proposes some measures based on four pillars:
- the creation of a system of national competitiveness authorities (councils) in the euro-area member states;
- a strengthened implementation of the macroeconomic imbalance procedure within the complex of EU’s mandatory regulations (already set up);
- a stronger focus on employment and social performance;
- a stronger coordination of economic policies within a revamped complex of EU policies and regulations – the annual European Semester
This specific convergence process would be formalized by setting up legally binding standards. The common standards should focus on labor markets, competitiveness, business environment and public administrations, as well as certain aspects of tax policy, for example: the corporate tax base.
The envisioned Financial Union is based on the central idea that, in a monetary union, the financial system must be harmoniously regulated so that the monetary policy would be able to produce effects equally in all member states.
The Report proposes two main elements for the completion of the Financial Union: completing the Banking Union (set up since 2014) and enabling a Capital Markets Union (commenced in 2015).
The Fiscal Union is being built on the assumption that fiscal policies are a matter of common interest for the functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Responsible national fiscal policies must perform a double function: to ensure the sustainability of public debt and to enable the operation of automatic stabilizers in cushioning country-specific economic shocks.
At this time, the conduct of budgetary policy is the competence of EU Member States. At the European level, common commitments have been taken by member countries to guide their national budgetary policies, in the form of the Maastricht Treaty criteria (1992) and the Stability and Growth Pact (since 1998). Responsible budget formulation remains for the mean time in the hands of executive and legislative authorities in each Member State. It should materialize into sustainable ratios of debt and deficit.
Responsible national fiscal policies must perform a double function: to ensure the sustainability of public debt and enable the operation of automatic stabilizers in cushioning country-specific economic shocks.
In 2011-2013, in response to the recent economic crisis, the EU has created a new framework of macroeconomic governance which provides for an ex-ante coordination of the annual budgets of the euro-area member states. The main milestones of this framework are the EU legislative measures known as: the six-pack and the two-pack, as well as The Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the EMU with its main budgetary component - the Fiscal Compact (or the Fiscal Pact).
In the short term, the current governance framework should be strengthened through the creation of an advisory European Fiscal Board which would coordinate and complement the national fiscal councils. It would lead to a better compliance with the EU fiscal rules and a better coordination of national fiscal policies.
In the long term, there are plans to set up a euro-area-wide fiscal stabilization following a process which would achieve a significant degree of economic convergence. The objective of automatic stabilization at the euro-area level should be the cushioning of large macroeconomic shocks and not to actively fine-tune the economic cycle at the euro-area’s level.
The Political Union of the EMU implies a greater democratic accountability, legitimacy and institutional strengthening. The Report suggests the integration of the current intergovernmental mechanisms in order to better legitimize politically the reform of the EMU and the further development of the economic governance edifice. Some specific mentions are made in regards to the inter-parliamentary cooperation of member states and EU institutions.
The EU’s arguments in favor of the Fiscal Union
Various political leaders and economists from the euro-area have voiced for years their support in favor of a common fiscal policy and governance. They argue mainly that the deepening of the European integration process, within the current EMU framework, would confer on their economies the necessary strength to avert crisis and face the rising global competition.
For example, in March 2016, a key member of ECB’s executive board, Mr. Benoit Cœuré, held a speech at a public hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels arguing that economic recovery and growth in the euro-area is proceeding at a slow pace and that it is mainly supported by the monetary policy measures. Public finances in many euro-area countries are still in a fragile condition. After the significant past progress in fiscal consolidation, European fiscal policy is at present mildly expansionary on average in the euro-area. In many EU Member States, even though quality improvements by changing the composition of fiscal spending are still possible, high debt levels leave insufficient room for fiscal maneuver. Rigidities in the economic structure of several states, although they are currently being addressed, are still significant. This situation casts doubt on the euro-area’s capacity to face future economic shocks. A key policy challenge is therefore how to dismiss these doubts and to make sure that the euro-area becomes better prepared for economic downturns.
The ECB official mentions that there would be several ways in which the euro-area fiscal capacity (that is: policy, legislation and mechanisms) could be implemented, ranging from a simple macro insurance or an unemployment benefit scheme to a common euro-area budget that could include the provision of public goods. Ultimately, the choice as to which option or combination of options would be exercised will require political negotiations and a general consensus.
Mr. Cœuré argues that new progress must be achieved in three complementary dimensions:
- first, solidarity implies shared responsibility; this means that more fiscal risk-sharing in the EMU necessitates increased joint decision-making within common institutions;
- second, a renewed push for structural reforms in member states based on the strengthening of the private, markets’ sector over government interventionism;
- third, it is clear that fiscal risks do not always stem from fiscal action, but from unsustainable economic and financial policies elsewhere. Therefore, any move in this direction should be accompanied by a new convergence process towards more resilient economic structures. Political convergence and legitimacy would be needed to determine such a process.
The ECB official concludes his argumentation by referring to the issue of moral hazard – a preferred topic for many mainstream economists. It is basically argued that EU states with accumulating indebtedness and considered to have insufficient progress in structural reforms should not take an evasive route out of the new common fiscal framework; such an attempt would lead to a destabilization of the entire effort. The move towards a common fiscal capacity would take the form of a gradual and conditional process, that would allow working in parallel towards restored fiscal buffers at the national level, convergence in the capacity to absorb shocks at the national level and a strengthening of institutions at the euro-area level, while also moving, gradually, towards more centralized fiscal stabilization.
The latest address of the European Commission regarding the matter is presented in its recent communication “Towards a positive fiscal stance for the Euro Area”, dated November 2016. Notice that the Commission dropped the “fiscal union” term for the more politically accurate “fiscal stance”. In this document, the Commission reiterates its call for enhancing the fiscal capacity at the euro-area level. It admits that the necessary political consensus is indeed missing at this time. It also openly admits that the enforcement of the governance framework since 2011 has not so much stimulated growth, investments and jobs but was aiming rather to mitigate the effects of over-indebtedness and deficits at governments’ level.
The Commission warns that a fiscal integration at the aggregate euro-area level comes with both economic and legal constraints. The former relate essentially to the need to balance macroeconomic stabilisation needs in the short term with the preservation of the sustainability of public finances in the medium run. The latter refer to the operation of the fiscal surveillance framework in certain circumstances. Both sets of constraints reveal possible trade-offs, which ultimately require political decisions. A significantly more positive fiscal stance is warranted for the euro-area in order to fuel the real economy, but also to support the monetary policy of the ECB.
The move towards a common fiscal capacity would take the form of a gradual and conditional process, that would allow working in parallel towards restored fiscal buffers at the national level, convergence in the capacity to absorb shocks at the national level and a strengthening of institutions at the euro-area level, while also moving, gradually, towards more centralized fiscal stabilization.
The EU’s push for common fiscal governance for the euro-area countries has come under varied criticism and argumentation from a wide spectrum of economists and think-tankers.
A notable opinion was issued by the mainstream Think Tank Bruegel in their February 2016 policy paper: Which Fiscal Union for the Euro Area? The Bruegel experts have expressed a complementary vision on this matter.
They assert that of the three classical functions of fiscal policy – provision of public goods, redistribution and stabilization – only the latter provides a clear justification for a joint fiscal policy at euro-area level. Unsustainable fiscal policies in one Member State could destabilize the entire euro-area, while national policies could also have direct and indirect demand effects with an impact on area-wide inflation.
Empirically, fiscal policy in the euro-area and elsewhere often tends to accentuate rather than attenuate the economic cycle. The discretionary part of fiscal policy, as opposed to automatic stabilizers, is responsible for this unfortunate feature, while automatic stabilizers generally work well. Fully-fledged federations (i.e. the USA) assign fiscal policy stabilization largely to the federal level, based on a relatively large (common) budget. The paper states that, for the euro-area, a large federal budget would be rather unrealistic at the current level of integration, and fiscal stabilization will continue to rely mainly on national policies.
Bruegel’s analysis makes three major recommendations in this regard, that would lead national fiscal policies to be more stabilizing with respect to the economic cycle, while achieving long-term sustainability.
First, the euro-area should avoid imposing self-defeating fiscal adjustments on crisis countries. To achieve this, sovereign debt restructuring should be made possible by further strengthening the banking sector and extending the role of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – the EU agency providing financial assistance (loans) to Member States recognized as experiencing macroeconomic risks.
Secondly, it is argued that fiscal policy in exceptionally good or bad economic times should be guided by the planned independent European Fiscal Board, while the current governance procedures would apply strictly in ‘normal’ times. Of course, fiscal coordination is mostly needed in exceptional times, when the European Central Bank would not be able to stabilize the euro-area by the means of monetary policy solely.
Of the three classical functions of fiscal policy – provision of public goods, redistribution and stabilization – only the latter provides a clear justification for a joint fiscal policy at euro-area level. Unsustainable fiscal policies in one Member State could destabilize the entire euro-area.
Bruegel’s third proposal regards the labor side of the EMU, respectively the harmonization of the labor markets which would strengthen automatic stabilizers that were, in fact, cut in some cases during the crisis period, including via austerity measures. In addition, a move towards a rather ‘federal’ insurance for very large shocks may be recommended for governments. This should be based on the automatic stabilizers and should not involve conditionality when it is activated. It is argued that the best option would be a European unemployment (re-)insurance scheme for large shocks. All countries that manage to comply with a minimum set of labor-market harmonization criteria would be required to participate with their payments into the scheme based on objective criteria. Labor market harmonization might be also necessary for the functioning of the EU’s Monetary Union and could be incentivized by the re-insurance scheme.
So, Bruegel’s experts also emphasize the need for labor-market harmonization in the euro-area. Perhaps a new EU “union”, the Labor Market Union? It may be already envisioned by the European Commission.
Nonetheless, turning the euro-area into a fully-fledged common economic Union will take a long time, should it even be achieved at all. Meanwhile, the Brussels based Think Tank considers that it is more urgent to reinforce the ESM, possibly to extend its remit, and to correct the tendency of national fiscal policies to be pro-cyclical, both in good economic times and in bad times.
French economist and former IMF official, Olivier Blanchard, suggests that a fiscal union in the euro-area can mitigate devastating effects of the single currency on its peripheral countries. However, the euro-area might not work perfectly even if a fiscal transfer system is built, because the fundamental issue about competitiveness adjustment would not have be tackled; since euro-area peripheral countries have lost their own currencies, they are forced to adjust their economies by decreasing their wages instead of devaluation of the currency.
A popular columnist for the Financial Times journal, Wolfgang Munchau, considers that the idea of crisis resolution through fiscal insurance suffers from an internal contradiction. The intention of the EU is to create something lighter than a political union for its euro-area. However, a classic political union, of a federal kind, is firmly needed in order to provide the legal and political framework to make such insurance possible. Munchau argues that, although an insurance-based approach involves doing the least amount of integration necessary, in any economic model of insurance there must be a legal framework and a state or government that ensures that the insurance pays out or protects against fraud and even moral hazard.
On this latter aspect, economist Gilles Thirion from the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS) Think Tank argues that, while it is likely to effectively counter moral hazard problems, there is a trade-off between limiting risk of permanent redistribution and the level of automatic stabilization achieved. He finds that an ex-post adjustment to contribution rates reduces the stabilization capacity of the scheme since it can lead to a pro-cyclical adjustment of contribution rates.
From yet another perspective, British economists recommend that, instead of proposing an actual Fiscal Union, a far more effective Capital Markets Union (CMU) should be put in place by the EU. The CMU would encourage cross-border banking and investments and link euro-area markets to provide funds in regions where investment shortages exist. This would diversify sources of financing to counterbalance the unhealthy preponderance of the banking sector. Similarly, such a policy would also enforce private risk-sharing, which may be the primary shock absorber in times of economic recession. At this time, the probable exit of the UK from the EU bloc would likely affect the appetite for the common capital markets governance framework.
The euro-area might not work perfectly even if a fiscal transfer system is built, because the fundamental issue about competitiveness adjustment would not have be tackled; since euro-area peripheral countries have lost their own currencies, they are forced to adjust their economies by decreasing their wages instead of devaluation of the currency.
The critics of the envisioned EU fiscal policy argue that, while EU supporters are citing the economic success of federal states as the product of their fiscal risk-sharing policies, it may be already concluded that common fiscal policies are not as effective as previously thought. The proposed EU Fiscal Union would not have the capacity to adequately respond to local problems because of unexpected political blockage and its “straightjacket” governance requirements.
On the political legitimacy side, the EU could never demand from its national Member States that they hand over their fiscal sovereignty without risking comparisons to a basic dictatorship.
Fiscal risk-sharing is a fiscal policy where Member States ‘share’ risks by agreeing to transfer a portion of their GDP to other struggling member states in times of economic downturn. The EU’s Fiscal Union supporters cite the fiscal union of the USA or of the German states as examples that such policies work. However, such comparisons are considered rather insufficient and asymmetrical from a historical and economic point of view.
It is also argued that local fiscal policy is always more suited to address local problems. Through a straightjacket European fiscal policy, the EU institutions, such as the ESM troika, would almost certainly let certain struggling countries suffer in the short term (citing the current Greek situation), in order to supposedly achieve an arbitrary long-term success of their vision over the rest of the continental bloc.
Furthermore, the Fiscal Union would generate moral hazard. Loose spenders will be given a constant bail-out by virtuous spenders. The Fiscal Union would become a transfer union that would affect budgetary righteousness. Keeping high-debt countries afloat artificially would eventually affect the entire euro-area and the rest of the EU.
In recent years, the architecture of the EMU has undergone a number of modifications aiming at strengthening its resilience to adverse shocks. However, nowadays EU proponents argue that the recent developments in the macroeconomic and fiscal governance framework might remain insufficient as they cannot eliminate the possibility of fiscal crises in which Member States are eventually forced to implement pro-cyclical policies. The capacity of the EU financial sector union (respectively, the Banking and the Capital Markets unions) to fully deter the dependence between banks and public policies will remain limited unless a fiscal backstop is set up and measures are undertaken to reduce the exposure of national banking systems to their governments. Such measures would eventually imply an actual fiscal union. A significant degree of convergence in labor market policies may also be unavoidable.
Moreover, the case for a fiscal union as a macroeconomic stabilizer cannot be debated independently of the role of other economic policy areas. In particular, fiscal insurance needs to be accompanied by further coordination efforts to reduce the possibility of policy-induced shocks that could lead to macroeconomic divergences (i.e. structural policies or counter-cyclical fiscal policy), and other developments in the private sector (macro-prudential policies).
There are several models and theoretic approaches to economic integration of national economies. The EU is a unique structure unlike any other in modern history. Economists may debate consistently over the many ways to move forward in the case of the EMU and its components.
Meanwhile, the proposals put forward by the European Commission in 2015 have not met proper consensus from EU Member States, nor have they enjoyed the full support of the European Parliament. MEP’s have expressed doubts over the degree of independence of the proposed advisory European Fiscal Board. The resolution adopted by the Parliament in December 2015 states that:
“[The Parliament] regrets that the proposals published by the Commission do not leave enough room for parliamentary oversight and debate at European level, which are necessary to ensure the democratic accountability of the decisions taken in the context of the EMU and consequently for ensuring the citizens’ ownership of euro area governance”.
Despite such concerns, some pro-EU pundits believe that EU institutions will eventually manage to impose a full common fiscal policy to the euro-area. There is still room for negotiations and compromise; inexorably, there may be no way around a fiscal union in the long run, even if the idea is growing less fashionable. Without it, there might no end to the growing economic and social imbalances within the euro-area as well as the rest of the continental bloc.
However, the current priorities for the EU leaders are of a different nature. The geopolitical landscape has changed dramatically and the continental bloc has to deal with new challenges. The deepening of the economic integration is now viewed with even more precaution. For the time being, the initial enthusiasm of the EU’s Juncker Commission for the deepening of the EMU has significantly toned down. The Brexit has caused a reconsideration of the entire integration process. With a new Presidential administration in the USA – the EU’s key partner – leaders in Brussels are carefully pondering their next moves.
Recently, the managing director of the ESM (European Stability Mechanism), German economist Klaus Regling, who has previously supported the creation of a separate budgetary capacity and enhanced fiscal governance for the euro-area, has conceded that there is “no need for a full political nor a full fiscal union” at this time. Mr. Regling has mentioned in January 2017 he does not believe that “new big steps are needed in order for the EMU to properly function”. His latest comments are a sign of tempered hopes for ambitious steps in integration among EU officials. Moreover, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup (the finance ministers of the euro-area member states), declared in September 2016 that a deeper integration would be the “worst response” to EU’s multiple crises.
For the moment, the Fiscal Union dossier seems to be fallen on the wayside, but it undoubtedly remains high on the priority list of the EU.
The geopolitical landscape has changed dramatically and the continental bloc has to deal with new challenges. The deepening of the economic integration is now viewed with even more precaution.
As far as Romania is concerned, economists are currently divided over the issue. While some consider that only the European integration process and the implied accession to the euro-area can warrant a prosperous and sustainable economy for Romania, other experts are more cautious about the evolution of the EMU and promote the strengthening of national policies and instruments in order to facilitate economic growth. The political dynamic will likely influence the position adopted by economists on this subject. Thus far, the previous governments have expressed a limited enthusiasm in this matter. Finance ministers tended to support the EU Commission’s proposals on the condition that the current governance framework is given more time to prove its effectiveness before more integrationist mechanisms are set up.
It is our belief that Romania needs a more sovereign fiscal policy to service a rapidly growing economy that is still vulnerable to a variety of factors. Being a disciplined member of the current EU governance framework is a sufficient guarantee for the time being that fiscal policy decisions would unfold responsibly and would tend towards macroeconomic sustainability. New policy moves at the European level may place additional pressure on an already constricted margin for national policy maneuvers. The risk of a divergent EU economy looms large: a consolidated euro-area and an unsettled periphery, forced to either join the euro currency bloc or to find alternatives of its own.
A recent study issued by a group of economists led by professor Daniel Dăianu identifies several significant “vulnerabilities” in the fiber of the euro-area:
- the lack of instruments to insure a sufficient level of convergence among Member States (this situation has enabled the growing inequalities between the more developed Northern Member States and those in the South of the area, which were more affected by the recent crisis);
- a lack of progress towards an optimal currency area, made up of national economies that are structurally compatible and sufficiently converged in competitiveness;
- the lack of sufficient and effective instruments to cushion asymmetric shocks;
- the lack of instruments for adjustment to various macroeconomic evolutions.
The study highlights the major gap in real convergence between our country and the euro-area member states and stresses the need for the consolidation of our underlying fundamentals before making the changeover to the euro-area. The message essentially advocated for more caution and in-depth preparation ahead of adopting a target date for joining the euro currency bloc. Nonetheless, another message is that fiscal integration of the euro-area may be unavoidable in order for the currency union to function at its full potential.
The table below is extracted from Gilles Thirion’s study “European Fiscal Union: Economic rationale and design challenges”, (CEPS, 2017). It highlights the recent proposals for a fiscal Union in the EU.
Sources of documentation:
EU’s Five Presidents Report, June 2015:
European Parliament: “Resolution of 17 December 2015 on completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (2015/2936(RSP))”, Brussels, December 2015: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+TA+P8-TA-2015-0469+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN
European Commission: “Towards a positive fiscal stance for the Euro Area”, November 16, 2016, Brussels:
Andrei Mocearov: Când va adera România la zona euro?, analysis opinion, ZF.ro, [on-line], Bucharest, January 22, 2017:
Andrei Mocearov: Current reform of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), analysis paper, Bucharest, 2015:
Benoit Cœuré, ECB: A budgetary capacity for the euro area, speech at the European Parliament, Brussels, March 2, 2016: https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/key/date/2016/html/sp160302_1.en.html
Bruegel, [on-line]: Which Fiscal Union for the Euro Area?, policy paper, February 2016: http://bruegel.org/2016/02/which-fiscal-Union-for-the-euro-area/
Gilles Thirion: European Fiscal Union: Economic rationale and design challenges, CEPS [on-line], January 2017: www.ceps.eu
Philippe Heitzmann: EU Fiscal Union would be fatal, International Policy Digest [on-line], July 23, 2016:EU Fiscal Union Would be Fatal EU Fiscal Union Would be Fatal EU Fiscal Union Would be Fatal
Oliver Blanchard: Fiscal Union will never fix a dysfunctional eurozone, warns ex-IMF chief Blanchard, The Telegraph [on-line], October 10, 2015: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11919355/fiscal-Union-eurozone-emu-olivier-blanchard-imf.html
Wolfgang Munchau: The eurozone cannot escape political and fiscal Union, Financial Times [on-line], June 5, 2016:
 Benoit Cœuré, ECB: A budgetary capacity for the euro area, speech at the European Parliament, Brussels, March 2, 2016: https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/key/date/2016/html/sp160302_1.en.html
 European Commission: “Towards a positive fiscal stance for the Euro Area”, November 16, 2016, Brussels:
 Bruegel, [on-line]: “Which Fiscal Union for the Euro Area?”, policy paper, February 2016: http://bruegel.org/2016/02/which-fiscal-Union-for-the-euro-area/
 Wolfgang Munchau: The eurozone cannot escape political and fiscal Union, Financial Times [on-line], June 5, 2016: https://www.ft.com/content/95aaddfa-29ad-11e6-8ba3-cdd781d02d89
 Gilles Thirion: European Fiscal Union: Economic rationale and design challenges, CEPS [on-line], January 2017: www.ceps.eu
 Andrei Mocearov: “Când va adera România la zona euro?”, analysis opinion, ZF.ro, [on-line], Bucharest, January 22, 2017: http://www.zf.ro/opinii/cand-va-adera-romania-la-zona-euro-16101719