Tuesday

12th Dec 2017

MEPs slam Rehn over economic policy

  • Rehn: admitted the Troika should be subject to greater transparency (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

EU economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn faced a sustained verbal shellacking on Thursday (25 April), with MEPs on both the left and the right finding fault with his policy-making.

Rehn, who was speaking at a hearing with the economic and monetary affairs committee in Brussels, found himself criticised by the right for going soft on austerity and chastised by the left for not doing enough to promote growth.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Jean Paul Gauzes, spokesman for the centre-right EPP group, accused him of "lacking courage and conviction."

It would be "a very bad sign if we say we have to move away from austerity," he noted.

The committee debate comes towards the end of a week in which EU officials offered conflicting views on the pace of economic reform in the eurozone.

For his part, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso indicated in a speech that austerity had "reached its limits," even though the EU executive was quick to maintain that its economic policies remain unchanged.

In a nod to efforts made to balance budgets across European capitals, Rehn noted that the pace of deficit reduction would slow to 0.75 percent in 2013 compared with a 1.75 percent fall in 2012.

Most countries now "have the room to make fiscal policy with a more medium-term view," he said.

But his comment was not enough to pacify the centre-left.

Green MEP Philippe Lamberts accused Rehn and the EU's other economic policy chiefs of "collective blindness."

Elisa Ferreira, the Portuguese spokesperson for the Socialist group, said her country is heading "straight for disaster" because the EU has provided no alternative to austerity.

"Enough is enough," she said.

Her fellow-countryman Diogo Feio, a centre-right MEP, called on the commission to offer incentives to Portugal, warning that the "social and political consensus is extremely fragile."

"If you have a country that respects its commitments you need to provide more instruments," he said

Rehn also conceded on the need for more transparency on decision-making in the Troika - a joint body of commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund officials which control EU bailout conditions.

The commissioner himself described the Troika's work as "complex and cumbersome."

"You have 20 vetoes and 20 red lines which … leads to decisions that are not first best, but second best," he said.

Opinion

Why austerity is failing in Europe

Until recently, Brussels has supported primarily front-load austerity measures. When President Hoover tried similar policies in the 1930s America, a severe recession morphed into a devastating Great Depression.

Agenda

Talking about monetary union and Cyprus this WEEK

Senior EU politicians will gather for a conference in Brussels Tuesday on how to reach economic and monetary union amid strong divisions between member states about the speed and order of the successive steps.

Commission wants more centralised eurozone by 2019

EU leaders will discuss at their summit next week the commission's proposals, which include a European Monetary Fund and an EU finance minister - but no eurozone budget, as proposed by French president Emmanuel Macron.

EU blacklists 17 tax havens, avoids sanctions

Finance ministers pointed out 'non-cooperative' entities and set up a second 'grey' list of more than 40 countries that have promised to improve their tax practices.

News in Brief

  1. EU to Israel: Don't expect us to move embassies
  2. EU Commission condemns anti-semitic 'Jerusalem' protests
  3. Ministers have 'lots of questions' on new CAP plans
  4. Commission: Brexit agreement is 'deal between gentlemen'
  5. 25 EU states sign defence cooperation pact
  6. Netanyahu wants 'hardy' talks with EU on Jerusalem
  7. French centre-right elects new leader
  8. Germany and UK increase arms sales

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. Alignment with EU is 'last resort', May tells MPs
  2. Iceland: further from EU membership than ever
  3. Israel presses Jerusalem claim in EU capital
  4. From dark coal toward a brighter future
  5. UK casts doubt on EU deal in 'bizarre' twist
  6. Romania wants EU signal on Schengen membership
  7. Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants
  8. No chance of expanding EU warrant crime list