It is a time for some introspection about what has been achieved in the last five-year political cycle but – more importantly, where might the EU27 journey in the next five years (though it may yet be EU28 making the journey.)
(With apologies to Bob Dylan)
The Heads of State met in Sibiu in Romania on Europe Day 2019 (9th May) to consider the future path of Europe at 27. The 8th European Parliament has just ended and the 9th Elected been elected. The “Juncker” Commission is drawing to a close and the new Commission should take office on 1st November. So it is a time for some introspection about what has been achieved in the last five-year political cycle but – more importantly, where might the EU27 journey in the next five years (though it may yet be EU28 making the journey.)
The Commission’s 82-page reflection paper on the Future of Europe sets out its thoughts. But the most striking charts are those from the Spring 2019 Eurobarometer on the strength of positive public opinion toward the EU and the euro (see pages 62-65). Belief that the EU is a “good thing” has risen from a low of 53% at the moment of the Brexit referendum to 62% now. The opposite - that the EU is a “bad thing” - has fallen from 16% to just 11%. Support for the euro by its users has risen from a low of 62% at the time of the euro crisis to 75% today. So the leaders met with confidence that the EU vision has weathered a terrible storm and the public is showing its support for what had to be done. Where next?
In the economic field, the familiar refrain was repeated – calling for a further deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union, especially given the likelihood that the Eurozone will expand beyond 19. However, if Brexit actually happens, then the British eurosceptics’ expectations of the euro disintegrating may be totally confounded as it moves towards become THE single currency of the entire Union.
There are logical consequences that will flow from such a trend: banking union will be “completed”, capital markets union will be developed progressively after its modest start, and the international role of the euro is likely to be enhanced. Europe now sees this latter step as a necessity to counter President Trump’s overt weaponising of the dollar. For financial institutions based in the UK, the logic is clear: the relative role of sterling would decline even further in a bi-polar currency world for at least the next decade.
The EU 27 has made crystal clear any future trade relationship with the UK will not restrain the autonomy of its own regulatory decision-making. So UK institutions will have an ever-stronger reason to follow EU rules as the euro rises in global importance to match the EU’s share of world trade and GDP. [...]
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© Graham Bishop
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