Prodi to explain why Euro Pact is 'stupid'

18.10.02 @ 21:03

  1. By Sharon Spiteri

Commission President Romano Prodi has accepted the invitation of the European Parliament political groups to address a debate on the Stability Pact in the Strasbourg plenary session on Monday, even though the Commission is already going to be represented by Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pedro Solbes. Although the European Parliament said that this debate had been foreseen for some time, it said that it wanted to give Mr Prodi a chance to clarify "apparent misunderstandings" after he recently referred to the Stability Pact as being "stupid".

Credibility of Stability Pact being tested

President Prodi on Friday 18 October received letters from the President of the political groups in the European Parliament asking him to address Monday's debate on the Stability pact. President of the Christian Democrats, Hans-Gert Pöttering expressed "great astonishment and disbelief" at Mr Prodi's comments on Thursday, saying it was a "grave mistake" which could "cause great damage to the European currency and undermine the economic and political trust in it."

Solbes: Stability Pact flexible enough

EU Commission President Prodi had commented against a strict implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact. However this left the economic affairs Commissioner Solbes trying to dismiss the rigidity of the Pact. "With various initiatives over the last three years the Commission has proved that the Stability and Growth Pact is flexible enough to accommodate policies that make economic sense. Of course no flexibility can accommodate bad economic policies," he said on Friday in Barcelona.

Hans-Gert Pöttering said in his letter that the Commission President's remarks reveal the obvious split within the Commission and its loss of independence from pressures of some larger member states. "If you feel that the right of initiative enables the Commission to depart from the unanimous decision taken on the Stability Pact without even consulting the European Parliament, this clearly demonstrates a breach of confidence which cannot stand uncommented," said Mr Pöttering in his letter.

Enrique Barón Crespo, the European Socialist President, also sent a letter to President Prodi on Friday, asking him to attend the debate in Strasbourg on Monday "in order to explain, in public and before the Parliament, your position on this issue, and to bring the debate into its inter-institutional context."

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