Unity and comprehensive long-term vision vital for Eurozone, Juncker tells MEPs
Committee : Economic and Monetary Affairs
Jean-Claude Juncker regrets what has not been achieved and delays in taking decisions, but is content that the Eurozone was saved in 2012 and fractures avoided, he told Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Thursday, just days before he steps down as Eurogroup President.
Many MEPs quizzed Mr Juncker on whether austerity was the right cure for the crisis and also on the Eurozone's longer term prospects. A few also pressed him on the need for a savings tax directive.
Mr Juncker said he had "many questions" about the strict adjustment paths being imposed on some countries, adding that the "tragedy of unemployment" is underestimated. He insisted that countries receiving financial assistance, the programme countries, need to be compensated for their efforts.
As to the Eurozone's future, Mr Juncker said he was disappointed that the last European Council had fallen far short of expectations that it would agree a roadmap for the next 10 years. A move away from intergovernmental methods is needed to avoid a "chaotic approach" which could split the bloc, he added.
Mr Juncker also accepted that Eurozone governance needs to become more democratic. "No country should consider itself infinitely more virtuous than others", he said, stressing that decision making must also become also more inclusive of the needs of all the Eurozone's component parts.
At a press point just after the meeting, Mr Juncker told journalists that he would remain on the European scene in his current national functions, and would be freer than ever to state his personal convictions for Europe.
In the Chair: Sharon Bowles (ALDE, UK)