EU reform on economic governance faces bottleneck

09:33, September 16, 2010      

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The bid to strengthen economic governance in the European Union (EU) is facing a bottleneck when leaders of the 27-nation bloc hold an informal summit here on Thursday.

"Over lunch, I will report back to you on the work undertaken in the task force on economic governance," EU President Herman Van Rompuy said in an invitation letter to heads of state and government of 27 EU member states.

In the wake of the Greek debt crisis, which posed the biggest challenge to the euro since the single currency came into being a decade ago, EU leaders decided to set up a task force led by Van Rompuy to define reforms needed for the prevention of future crisis.

Tackling flaws in the EU's economic governance exposed by the Greek debt crisis, the task force, composed of EU finance ministers, identified four priorities at its first meeting in May, namely tougher budgetary discipline, narrowing divergences in competitiveness among member states, more coordination of economic policies and a permanent crisis resolution mechanism.

It has since met four times and is expected to present a final report to EU leaders on necessary reforms next month.

"Important progress has been achieved, notably on the development of a new macro-economic surveillance framework to monitor and correct unsustainable competitiveness divergences and imbalances and on the strengthening of national fiscal frameworks," Van Rompuy said. "More work is however required."

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