03:21 GMT +321 June 2018
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    Juncker Says 'All But Two Member States' Are 'Duty Bound' to Join Eurozone

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    The chief of the European Commission proposed to create the post of a Europe-wide economy and finance minister to boost the eurozone. Moreover, Juncker suggested that states that are set to join the Schengen zone, are also "duty bound" to join the eurozone as well.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The eurozone needs a minister of economy and finance, accountable to the European Parliament, to promote structural reforms, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday.

    "We need a European minister of economy and finance, a minister to promote structural reforms in our member states… The European minister of economy and finance must of course be accountable to the European Parliament, we do not need parallel structures, we do not need a separate EU budget," Juncker said.

    When speaking about the upcoming inclusion of Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia to the Schengen zone, Juncker said that "all but two states are duty bound to join the Euro area" as well.

    "These member states need the support of a euro accession instrument," the EU commission chief said.

    Moreover, Juncker commented on French President Emmanuel Macron's proposal to create a common eurozone budget, with a permanent finance minister, and got Germany on board with this plan to elaborate on a road map for the reform by the end of the year.

    "Efficiency requires integrated instruments of the eurozone management. We do not need a parallel structure, we do not need a separate budget for the eurozone. We need a strong budget line for the eurozone in the framework of the EU budget," Juncker said.

    Juncker, however, supported the idea of appointing a pan-EU minister of economy to promote structural reforms, also voiced by the French president.

    The idea of profound EU integration, including the establishment of a common eurozone finance ministry and the introduction of a common budget within the EU single currency area as a means of strengthening the bloc's economy was one of the key pledges during Macron's presidential campaign earlier in the year.

    Earlier this year, France and Germany announced that they will make new proposals to boost the eurozone. When commenting on the proposals, French President Emmanuel Macron said that it is necessary to reform the European Union and form a parliament of its core eurozone group.

    Moreover, Juncker proposed to organize a summit in Romania on March 30, 2019, to set out the EU future after Brexit.

    Juncker reminded that on March 30, 2019, the European Union would be composed of just 27 member states, as the United Kingdom is expected to leave the bloc on March 29, 2019. The official emphasized the need for the EU authorities to prepare for that day since it would be followed by the European Parliament elections in May 2019. For these elections, the EU citizens need the clear vision of the way the European Union will develop in the years to come, Juncker pointed out.

    "That would be the right moment to take very important decisions, essential decisions, in fact, to shape a more united Europe, a stronger and more democratic Europe," Juncker said in his annual State of the Union address in the European Parliament.

    The eurozone is a monetary union, which comprises 19 of the 28 European Union member states. It is politically controlled by the group of its countries' finance ministers, the so-called Eurogroup. The European Central Bank (ECB) manages its currency and its monetary policy.


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