EU Urged to Merge IMF Executive Board Seats

International Monetary and Financial Committee members convene for their semiannual meeting at the IMF headquarters in Washington, D.C., on April 24, 2010. The committee reflects the membership of the IMF executive board, which is now being scrutinized. Photo by: IMF / CC BY-NC-ND IMFCC BY-NC-ND

European countries should pool their quota shares in the International Monetary Fund and have only a single seat in the international body’s executive board, an expert suggests in yet another contribution to the growing debate over Europe’s “overrepresentation” at IMF.

Daniel Gros, who heads the Belgium-based Center for European Policy Studies, says one European Union seat in the IMF executive board will give the eurozone expanded influence.

“The eurozone representative would be very influential, because he would represent an even larger quota than that of the U.S. Indeed, the U.S. Treasury’s de facto dominance within the IMF would become a thing of the past,” Gros explains.

He says the eurozone representative would be nominated by European Union finance ministers.

Gros acknowledges that European countries would not necessarily be open to his suggested solution. European Union members have a “scant interest” in transferring competencies and international positions to the EU level, he observes.

EU finance ministers, in the face of international pressure, have agreed to rotate two of European-controlled IMF board seats with developing countries. Their offer, however, falls short of calls for them to give up some of their voting powers in favor of allowing emerging economies more voice at the fund.

As Gros observes: “Europe’s leaders never tire of reminding their constituencies, almost like a mantra, that the major emerging-market countries are overturning the existing global economic order. But when it comes to recognizing that reality in the world’s international financial institutions, they adopt a different tune.”

More from European think tanks:

- In “The EU’s Diplomatic Debacle at the UN: What else and what next?,” Michael Emerson and Jan Wouters urge the EU to “face up to new realities” regarding the current internatinal order. The EU should review its position within the U.N. and other multilateral systems, the authors say.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.