As Greek politicians seethe over being outmaneuvered in recent bailout talks by their eurozone counterparts, French President François Hollande Sunday suggested countries joined by the euro adopt a government to oversee the currency union. Hollande envisioned both a parliament and budget for a governing apparatus that would represent the 19 countries in the eurozone.
“What threatens us is not too much Europe, but a lack of it,” Hollande wrote in the weekly Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
The proposal comes as the ongoing Greek debt crisis frays relations among eurozone countries. Fiscally conservative countries like Germany and Finland have clashed with the likes of France and Italy, which support a softer approach to Greece.
No formal governance structure surrounds the decision-making that determines eurozone policy. Instead, monetary policy flows from an informal group of finance ministers of member states called the Eurogroup.
That informal structure has led weaker states like Greece to complain of having little say in eurozone affairs. Last week, the Eurogroup joined with EU representatives to hammer out an emergency Greek bailout deal in a last-minute negotiation designed to keep Greece within the eurozone.
In an interview given after stepping down from his post earlier this month, former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis described Eurogroup negotiations as opaque and driven principally by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. "It is all like a very well-tuned orchestra and he is the director," Varoufakis said.
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin expressed sympathy for Greece's position but reportedly fell into line with tougher demands for austerity and structural reform advanced by Germany.
In his proposal, Hollande floated the idea of instituting an elected eurozone parliament "to ensure its democratic control." The escalating tensions over Greece's debt have raised questions over the long-term viability of the eurozone project, doubts Hollande hopes a less-removed governance system would dispel. "What threatens us is not an excess of Europe but its insufficiency," Hollande wrote.
"Parliaments remain too far away from decisions," Hollande said. "And people are turning away after having been bypassed so much."