24th August 2017

Euractiv.com: Czechs may seek observer seat at beefed-up Eurogroup

The Czech Republic may try to get an observer seat at the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers if its decision-making powers are boosted under plans to reshape the European Union, the foreign minister said on Monday (21 August), Euractiv.com writes.

European leaders are pondering reforms in response to Brexit, a process that could pick up speed after the election of Emmanuel Macron as French president, and after German election in September.

Fostering more integration between eurozone countries could mean those outside of the single currency zone would have no seat at the decision-making table, while still having to live with consequences affecting the whole union.

For the Czechs, who do not use the euro and have no intention of adopting it soon, this would risk them being left in the dark on some key decisions. Being at the table while not joining the euro fully, at least for the time being, could limit that downside.

“I support having an observer status in the eurozone,” Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaorálek said in emailed comment to Reuters after the plan was reported by Czech weekly Respekt on Monday.

“It is undoubtedly beneficial for us to have the possibility to take part in their meetings and thus have a direct insight into the governance of the eurozone.”

The Czech move follows a rather surprising announcement by Slovak PM Robert Fico, who said his country would stick to the EU’s core. Unlike the Czech Republic, Slovakia has been member of the eurozone since 2009.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic