“Deal. Unanimous support for new settlement for #UKinEU”, announced an exultant Donald Tusk in his long-awaited tweet, and picked up ovations for probably the most cited announcement made on that day in the world media.
Soon after, all British newspapers and TV stations started a bidding quest of predicting the ultimate outcome of the revealed referendum named as “Brexit” likewise the previously as important crisis as it was the Greek one (Grexit). So the Europeans (at least “continental” ones) were started to being hit by the mass of information which prophetically implied that Britain will and should stay within the Union. A potential impression on the intriguing different analyses and news in reversed scenario remained unknown.
Probably the most absurd analysis was published by the Telegraph, which used a mathematical model and complex statistics to explain why Britain should not leave the EU. However, the Brexit crisis was not the only one which put the Institutions of the Union on test. There are copious numbers of crises that have occurred in a short period. Greek crisis has become a symbol of the southern EU Member States. Most of the crises (except the migrant one), were about financial or economic issues. Therefore, the Economic and Financial affairs EU Council is holding more-less continuous sessions.
Two sessions of the Economic and Financial affairs EU Council (ECOFIN), have been held on January the 1st, when the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the European Union has begun. In the first session, the Council discussed growth prospects and macroeconomic imbalances under the “European Semester”, the EU’s annual policy coordination process. It adopted conclusions and approved a draft recommendation on the economic policies of the euro area. The policy priorities for 2016 are investment, structural reforms and responsible fiscal policies. For what concerns macroeconomic imbalances, the Commission is due to publish in-depth reviews on February concerning the situation in 18 Member States. The second session of the Council took place in Brussels on February 12th. The Council set its priorities for the 2017 EU budget, calling for a realistic budget that strikes the right balance between fiscal consolidation and investments to boost growth. Ministers also asked for more flexibility in the EU budget for 2017 in order to cope with current and possible future challenges.
Member States holding the Presidency work together closely in groups of three, called ‘trios’. This system was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. The trio sets long-term goals and prepares a common agenda determining the topics and major issues that will be addressed by the Council over a 18 months period. On the basis of this programme, each of the three countries prepares its own more detailed 6-month programme.
As stated in the common 18-months trio plan, the single market is the key achievement of the Union and the most effective instrument for creating jobs. Deepening the single market, especially in the digital and services areas, has to be a priority. Enforcement, implementation, simplification and consistency of existing instruments are also high on the agenda. After the publication of the Digital Single Market Strategy, its main elements will be taken forward, with a particular focus on the reform of the electronic communications framework, review of the audio-visual media and copyright law, the rules for cross-border e-commerce, e-government as well as digital economy, start-ups and SMEs.
It seems like the EU Institutions are continuously doing their job. Any questions concerning probabilistic EU financial crisis in the sense of Brexit should not worry EU officials. At least they claim so after the deal is achieved. Great Britain will get a “special status” within the Union concerning the economic, financial and social affairs, which will be agreed upon, respectively. Even though this article could possibly not be primarily the one which deals with the economic or financial issues, Brexit crisis is certainly the pure example of the EU strength to survive and continue with its activities.
As we can read in media these days, “Cameron has set up a new multi speed EU”, but this was not true, since the EU is already a multi speed project, especially in the economic area. In spite of the fact that Britain will probably remain a fully EU member, the Union will need to address this uncertain outlook, in which threats, challenges and opportunities coexist and EU internal and external security, economic and financial affairs are increasingly intertwined.