Political constraints of EMU Reform: What is feasible, when, and will it be enough?

17  December 2018    5:30 pm CET

Thomas Wieser, non-resident scholar, Bruegel, former President of the Euro Working Group and of the European Financial Committee of the EU


wiiw, Rahlgasse 3, 1060 Vienna, lecture hall (entrance from the ground floor)


The present work strand of EMU Reforms has been an ongoing project for nearly a decade, and will continue for at least as long. Reforms have been undertaken against a vast background of analytical and policy papers going back decades. Progress has nevertheless been slow and uneven. To a certain extent there is genuine lack of intellectual agreement, but more importantly political approaches towards a stable and efficient monetary union differ across Member States. I shall discuss these issues against the background of the issues described in the so-called Four Presidents’ Report. How far have we gotten, and what are the medium term prospects for further reforms? What are the political forces that push, and what are the political forces that impede progress?

Thomas Wieser was the Brussels based President of the Euro Working Group and Chairman of the EU’s Economic and Financial Committee from 2012 to 2018. In this function he was responsible for the preparation of the negotiations and decisions of EU Finance Ministers. He was the G 7 Deputy for the Eurogroup and represented the Euro Working Group in a number of other international fora. Prior to that Thomas Wieser was Director General for Economic Policy and Financial Markets of the Austrian Ministry of Finance. He studied economics in Innsbruck. His post graduate education took him to Boulder, Colorado, on a Fulbright scholarship, and the Institute of Advanced Studies in Vienna. At present he is associated with Bruegel, the Brussels Think Tank, as Non-Resident Fellow. He has held a number of other international functions, such as that of Chair of the OECD Committee on Financial Markets and has published on a range of economic policy issues.