"Europe's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) today is like a house that was built over decades but only partially finished. When the storm hit, its walls and roof had to be stabilized quickly. It is now high time to reinforce its foundations…To achieve this, we will need to take further steps to complete EMU," it said.
The report was produced in close cooperation with the President of the Euro Summit Donald Tusk, the President of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.
These high-profile euro zone officials have been dealing with how to boost growth amid a slow recovery of the euro zone area, where the economy grew 0.4 percent in the first quarter of 2015 -- although unemployment remains an issue in many of the region's economies. Greece, in particular, is a bête noire for the euro zone's political and economic leaders, with talks on what reforms Greece must do in return for financial aid reaching crunch time on Monday.
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Noting that Europe was emerging from the "worst financial and economic crisis in seven decades," the report said that a "lot more needed to be done to improve economic policies."
Progress and closer union in the euro area must happen on four fronts, the report noted:
1) Towards a genuine Economic Union that "ensures each economy has the structural features to prosper within the Monetary Union."
2) Progress towards a Financial Union that guarantees "the integrity of our currency across the Monetary Union and increases risk-sharing with the private sector. This means completing the Banking Union and accelerating the Capital Markets Union."
3) Progress towards a Fiscal Union that delivers both fiscal sustainability and fiscal stabilization.
4) And finally, progress towards a Political Union "that provides the foundation for all of the above through genuine democratic accountability, legitimacy and institutional strengthening."
In each case, progress will have to follow a sequence of short- and longer-term steps, the report said, "but it is vital to establish and agree the full sequence today. The measures in the short-term will only increase confidence now if they are the start of a larger process, a bridge towards a complete and genuine EMU."
It urged all euro zone countries to participate in all four of the "Unions" and that the processes needed to complete "a deep and genuine EMU" should be implemented by 2025, at the latest.