O’Brien: “The case for a European finance minister”

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

The International Herald Tribune journalist Dan O’Brien argues that rather than pushing for an EU Foreign Minister in the new Constitution, EU leaders should create the post of an EU Economics Minister.

Summary by euractiv.com

This commentary discusses one of the main issues on the agenda of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) – the creation of the post of EU Foreign Minister.

Dan O’Brien argues that an EU Foreign Minister would need a real foreign policy to work with to be able to assert the EU’s economic weight in the world. For the time being, the EU Member States are unprepared to give him such power. National vetoes prevail on EU action in foreign and security matters and the armed forces remain fragmented with relatively low defence budgets. In the author’s view, merely creating the post of Foreign Minister would not resolve the fundamental divisions between EU countries that emerged during the Iraq crisis.

In contrast, O’Brien believes that the EU has achieved a great deal on the economic front and that an EU Economic Relations Minister could have real clout in world affairs. The EU has a single currency, unique antitrust powers and the world’s largest aid budget. Moreover, the EU is well placed to show leadership in trade, especially given the US preference for bilateral and regional links. An EU Economics Minister would therefore have the necessary tools at his disposal to demonstrate the EU’s influential role in world affairs.

To read the full article, see

“The case for a European finance minister”by Dan O’Brien.  

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