Gunther Oettinger, European Union Energy Commissioner, told CNBC today the euro zone “needs a United States of Europe” and “there is no plan B” for the euro zone. Oettinger made these comments at the 161st meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna.
Oettinger stressed the need for European leaders to act fast to contain the current debt crisis. He added, “we have to bring some concrete proposals” to the next summit of European leaders. This summit will be held on June 28-29.
Gunther Oettinger defended Angela Merkel’s handling of the debt crisis and expects her and the newly elected French president to work closely together.
Europe’s main tool to fight the current crisis has been the Emergency Financial Stability Fund (EFSF). This will soon be taken over by a more permanent solution, the European Stability Mechanism. This new tool will provide up to 500 billion euros to struggling governments once it starts on July 1.
When it comes to Greece, Oettinger said he would prefer the country stay in the EU but the decision is ultimately up to voters. He then reiterated there “there is no plan B” for the monetary union. Basically either Greece adheres to the agreements they have made, or they cannot stay in the EU.
Investors in the U.S. will be watching developments out of Europe very closely as any bad news can send the markets down big time.