The European Semester: More power to eurozone governments
The sovereign debt crisis prompted a raft of new EU regulations overseeing member states’ fiscal and budgeting processes. At first, the rules gave a lot of power to the European Commission, but eurozone governments now tend to use the coordination process to place themselves above the Commission and the peripheral member states. There is still no credible institutional backup, however, against debt contagion.
EU budget plan offers progress and pitfalls
The European Commission is finally taking steps to trim unproductive spending in areas like agriculture in its budget framework for 2021-2027. But while the new emphasis on fighting waste is promising, the fiscal plan also contains troubling proposals. One of the most disturbing is to reduce cohesion payments to countries that violate European "values," based on the arbitrary interpretations of the Commission and a few powerful member states.
Opinion: Europe’s misguided tax crusade
While the United States cuts taxes to spur growth, the European Union is blacklisting countries regarded as threats its fiscal system. The contrast speaks volumes about the economic priorities on both sides, and does not bode well for the long-term viability of Europe’s welfare states.
The EU’s tilt toward centralization
The European Commission has proposed creating a European Ministry of Economy and Finance, and transforming the European Stabilization Mechanism into the European Monetary Fund, controlled by Brussels. These steps toward economic centralization are dangerous for Europe’s competitiveness. What it needs is diversity and regional competition.
The UK is leaving the EU, not Europe
Brexit will offer the European Union and the United Kingdom the chance to put themselves back on track. The UK will no longer be seen as just one of 28 member states, while the EU can reestablish itself as a tool for collective action. However, this outcome will require flexibility from both sides. For now, a “hard Brexit” scenario is unlikely.
Self-destruction by arrogance and hypocrisy
Turkey-bashing remains a favorite sport in the European Union, as shown by the two latest resolutions approved by the European Parliament on July 6. For short-term gain, politicians are needlessly alienating the EU's most important strategic partner to the south and east.