This means that new executive powers at the eurozone level need to be complemented by governance reforms leading to stronger accountability – for example, to the creation of a eurozone grouping within the European parliament. A “euro commissioner” could embody this stronger eurozone focusing on fiscal policy but also on growth, investment and job creation.
Strengthening the euro is not only about the eurozone. It cannot be isolated from a broader rethinking of the EU, not least because we need to be able to answer the key question: what about the other member states? A stronger eurozone should be the core of a deepened EU.
We need a simpler and more efficient union, with more subsidiarity and streamlined governance. The fundamental instrument of EU integration is the single market; we should therefore make a new step towards a better-integrated internal market, with a targeted approach on key sectors like energy and digital economy.
A better functioning Europe also requires a stronger sense of community. Institutional legitimacy arises from closer links between citizens. Hence, we need to strengthen our affectio societatis.
This is the reason why we support, for instance, an Erasmus programme that would allow every European reaching the age of 18 to spend at least one semester in another EU country, to either study or follow an apprenticeship.
Building this new architecture is fundamental not only to deliver good policy in the short term but also to ensure the political and economic stability of the euro and the union over the long run. We have to find and implement the means by which European general interest will stop appearing different from national interest.
Our common goal is to render it unthinkable for any country in pursuit of its national interest to consider a future without Europe – or within a lesser union.
We can achieve this goal through a union of solidarity and differentiation. France and Germany have the responsibility to lead the way, because Europe cannot wait any longer.