Sunday

28th Aug 2016

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey