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The Protocol of Frankfurt: a new treaty for the eurozone

At a time when the EU finds itself in a perfect storm of crises which it seems unable to overcome, a bold move is needed to reinvigorate the EU’s system of government and stave off the risk of disintegration. In order to address the inherent weakness of the EU’s monetary and economic governance, this pamphlet proposes a new treaty for the eurozone: the Protocol of Frankfurt.

Written by Andrew Duff, former Member of the European Parliament and Visiting Fellow at the EPC, it is the first ever attempt to draft a treaty aimed at setting up a fiscal union: “The Protocol of Frankfurt provides the constitutional framework for a proper economic government and will, hopefully, also serve to accelerate the debate on the Five Presidents’ Report”.

The pamphlet first analyses the many diverse challenges the EU is facing at the moment and then discusses the reasons for the fragility of EMU governance, from the shaky beginnings of the single currency to the euro crisis and the many crisis-management measures and proposals meant to tackle it. Based on this analysis, it examines the desirable main features of a new eurozone treaty and its constitutional complexities.

Realising that the time is not ripe for a major constitutional overhaul, the pamphlet instead puts forward a shorter treaty revision that concentrates on re-engineering the Maastricht arrangements for the economic and monetary union, taking on the form of a Protocol to be added on to the existing Treaties. It will be applicable directly to the states of the eurozone and only indirectly to the non-euro states, and include a clause that balances the needs of the euro ‘outs’ with those of the ‘ins’.

“Faced with a series of unprecedented difficulties, the EU has little choice but to move forward swiftly to the next stage of integration, and the way to do that is through treaty change – it has always been a normal part of the integration process, so why should we fear it now?”, says Duff.

If, however, the Union continues to hope for the best and only deal with the worst as it comes, the European experiment could indeed still flop. Article 48(2) of the Treaty on European Union allows the government of any member state, the European Parliament or the Commission to table amendments to the Treaties. Our hope is that somebody, informed by this draft Protocol, does just that.

The full pamphlet can be found at http://www.epc.eu/documents/uploads/pub_6229_protocol_of_frankfurt.pdf

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