Varying integration speeds in the euro zone and outside it are a reality, but the European Union can get everybody on board if it offers a compelling vision of what the currency group can become, Slovak Finance Minister Peter Kazimir said in an interview.
Slovakia joined the euro zone in 2009, while ex-communist neighbours like the Czech Republic, Hungary or Poland have been in no hurry to adopt the euro currency.
The EU executive wants more states to join the club, and French President Emmanuel Macron has put a strong emphasis on development of the zone.
“Multi-speed EU is a reality,” said Kazimir, who has been mentioned as a potential successor to Jeroen Dijsselbloem as head of the bloc’s finance ministers’ group.
“The politics are polite, pushing the reality to the background, but it’s a reality that the euro zone represents another speed.”
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has proposed EU funding and technical help to encourage member states to adopt the euro.
“My opinion differs from Juncker’s, it isn’t about money. Clear rules are the best incentive,” he said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the Globsec Tatra Summit conference in Slovakia’s Tatra mountains on Friday.
“We need to tell colleagues from the Czech Republic or Hungary what club they will enter.”
Kazimir’s remarks will play into a larger debate about the future of the EU after Britain exits, cutting the membership to 27 states, of which 19 countries have adopted the euro.
He said his vision for a complete, prosperous and stable euro zone included a complete banking union, a working capital markets union, and simpler, more predictable fiscal rules.
He hoped clear instructions for moving forward on banking union, aiming to make banks stronger and better supervised, would be ready by December.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova; editing by Andrew Roche)