European Union leaders on Friday urged the 19 countries that use the euro currency to quickly figure out how they would fund a joint budget that would seek to stabilize and strengthen the single currency zone.
The idea of a eurozone budget, which is being championed by French President Emmanuel Macron, was discussed last week by European Union finance ministers, who agreed on the principles of a spending package for the 19-country eurozone.
But they have yet to come up with a clear plan.
While France would like it to be substantial, there’s a group of eurozone countries that worry that an expanded eurozone budget will mean less money for other European Union spending priorities, such as development programs or public services.
“Last week’s deal is going in the right direction but it’s not enough,” Macron said after a European Council meeting that was attended by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.
“We need to build a proper budget with a proper governance and sufficient funding.”
With the Netherlands at the forefront of concerns, differences remain on how the budget – which will be part of the overall EU budget – should be funded, whether through taxes or direct contributions from member-states.
Macron also wants it to be a tool allowing transfers of wealth if a financial crisis develops in the eurozone – as was the case during the crisis years in countries like Greece and Ireland during the first half of this decade.
This is a politically charged topic as many countries do not want their money to be used to fix other nations’ economic troubles.