EU Internal Policy

Eastern Europe DESTROYS EU integration plan: Nations SPLIT ‘will lead to EU BREAK UP’

EASTERN European Union members are deeply divided on plans for closer integration and claim they could even lead to the bloc breaking up.

In his state of the union speech last month, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker set out plans to make membership of the Euro currency compulsory.And French President Emmanuel Macron also laid out a vision for tighter integration, with a shared budget and defence force.

Polish President Andrzej Duda has even warned Mr Macron’s plan for a so-called multi-speed Europe could lead to the break-up of the EU.

Andrzej Duda is critical of the EUGETTY

Andrzej Duda is critical of the EU

“Poland is still one of the seven poorest countries in the EU in terms of GDP per capita.

“Therefore, we do not intend to go to the eurozone in the foreseeable future.”

But elsewhere in eastern Europe, where the union’s newest member states are located, nations are split on the issues.

Emmanuel MacronGETTY

Emmanuel Macron’s vision of EU reform has divided Europe

While Slovakia is broadly in favour and the Czech Republic is open to the reforms, Hungary joins Poland in fighting ever closer integration.In Hungary, the country is split on whether to join the single currency, with the government keen to keep control of fiscal policy.

György Schöpflin, an MEP for the ruling Fidesz party, said: “The Hungarian government takes the view that integration can and should take place when and where it is useful.

“But it is not in favour of integration for its own sake. Equally, and Hungary is not alone in this, the government is uneasy with new exclusions in the EU.”

Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania, meanwhile, back joining the eurozone and becoming part of Schengen.

Recent polling in the trio of eastern nations also shows the policies are popular among voters.Romania wants to join the single currency by 2022, while Croatia and Bulgaria plan to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism with the aim of adopting the euro.

But the countries are thought to be frustrated at French President Emmanuel Macron’s vision for the bloc, fearing it could put their own ambitions on the back burner.

A spokesman for Bulgaria’s foreign ministry told Politico: “A eurozone budget is a logical step in the attempt to improve the policy mix between a single monetary policy and national fiscal policies.

“However, in our opinion this budget should be limited to policy areas that are specific for the euro area, without duplicating community policies financed by the EU budget.”

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