If I was so crazy as to run for the office of president of the European Commission, I would want some fairly “radical” things*. I probably wouldn’t be able to get much of it through, particularly not now. In the mean time then, I’d happily settle for the programme in this open letter to Van Rompuy:
-A stronger, more automatic preventive SGP arm.
-An EMF (a permanent version of the EFSF) with actual money, strong conditionality and that would only insure sovereign bonds, not public or private institutions’ debt.
-A set of clear and transparent rules to ensure that in bank crises, only the depositors, and to a threshold, would be bailed out. These rules would be made credible through aggressive regulatory supervision and enforcement of risk levels and reserve ratios.
An increase in GDP growth through:
-An increase in labour Market flexibility that would improve young and female labour participation.
-A liberalisation of the services sector within the single market
-An improvement in single market infrastructure through:
-An increased focus on energy, transport and communications projects aimed at creating a single EU grid for all those markets
-A reform of structural projects financing, monitoring and auditing towards the model or even the leadership of the EUropean Investment Bank or the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
*I’d want a full fiscally and politically federal EU, with the ability to smooth asymmetric shocks and spread the risk of symmetric shocks and with full executive powers to the Commission. I would like an EU with an army, with a role in the purchasing part of healthcare policy . I’d like a 2 tiered unemployment benefit system, with the EU providing a minimum level of support at just above the poverty line, on top of which more generous national tiers could be built. I would probably also push for the creation of a European Bureau of Investigation an EU prossecutor to mainly fight national and EU corruption and cross border crime. Single European Domestic and Foreign Intelligence Gathering Services would probably be a good idea. I would decrease the relative size of the CAP and the Structural funds substantially and ensure that these subsidies were distributed and monitored directly by the Commission or some agency, rather than by the member states. Why?
Because I’d like an efficient EU budget that allocates expenditure and regulation at the right levels and creates the right type of multilevel tax mix that ensures accountability of local officials. I want an efficient EU economy where states find strength in numbersm, share risks and consequently do not need a set of such large national public sectors. I want an EU that is equitable in that it ensures minimum levels of education, of healthcare and of unemployment benefits for all. Finally I want a strong EU. One whose military can be a credible deterrent against international crises and unilateralism and one whose police and prosecutor secure it’s citizens at home against the incursions of those who try to abuse them, be they influential or not. I want a pro-active EU, not one that drags its feet.