Monday

22nd Jan 2018

Moscovici to answer in writing on commitment to fiscal rules

  • MEPs still doubt Moscovici's commitment to the EU will trump his allegiance to France (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

France's Pierre Moscovici is to answer in writing about how he will make sure countries, including his own, will implement the EU's deficit-and-debt rules.

MEPs in the economics committee were working on nine supplementary questions on Friday (3 October), after a stormy hearing with Moscovici the previous day.

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.

The draft questions, seen by EUobserver, revolve around his commitment to the Stability and Growth Pact which sets a three-percent threshold for the public deficit and a 60 percent of GDP limit on public debt. Most EU countries are well beyond both thresholds.

But France is of particular concern, as it has asked for extension after extension to meet the deficit target, the latest being just on the eve of Moscovici's hearing.

As they did in the hearing, MEPs press Moscovici again on his perceived failure to comply with these rules during his time as a finance minister in France in the past two years.

With France constantly pushing for "flexibility" in applying the Stability and Growth Pact when a country is in distress, MEPs ask him to "clarify the concept of flexibility in the Stability and Growth Pact and its different forms of possible application."

They also want to know his interpretation of what "exceptional circumstances" and "severe economic downturn" mean when applying this flexibility.

They refer to France, indirectly, and its poor track record in sticking to deadlines.

"What action should apply to member states whose budget deficit is constantly above 3% of GDP and which have already been granted an extension of the deadline to bringing down the deficit to Maastricht levels? Under which circumstances would you argue for granting more time or for applying sanctions?"

Italy, at a whopping 132 percent of GDP in public debt, is also alluded to.

"What action will you apply to a member state whose public debt is constantly above 60% of GDP and increasing? Under what circumstances would you not recommend to apply sanctions?"

Meanwhile, MEPs want to know how Moscovici will make governments implement the commission's economic policy recommendations, given that most of them are ignored even though they are legally binding.

"How do you think your concrete professional experience can help in changing this trend? What concrete measures will you undertake to increase the implementation rate of country specific recommendations by member states?"

After having stated that some of the rules for economic policy co-ordination, known as "six-pack need" simplification, Moscovici is asked to say exactly which rules he meant and how he plans to change them.

"Could you put such a legislative initiative to the college [of commissioners] or would you need approval or a positive recommendation by the vice-president in charge of the Euro and Social Dialogue [Valdis Dombrovskis]?"

MEPs also want to know about plans for the eurozone to have a "single external representation" in international bodies, as mentioned in the EU treaty, and what contingencies there are in case the eurzone slips into deflation.

Lastly, they ask Moscovici what his "concrete actions" will be in support of the all-but-dead financial transaction tax and what he plans to do in order to implement a common corporate tax base throughout the EU.

The common tax base is designed to limit tax dumping of the sort Apple is doing in Ireland.

Agenda

Commissioners to-be and bearded ladies This WEEK

The European Parliament is once again at the centre of the action next week, as it completes the final rounds of hearings for the next European Commission and welcomes Eurovision song contest winner Conchita Wurst.

MEPs ask Moscovici about French deficit

MEPs gave French commissioner Moscovici a Tuesday deadline for extra questions on EU fiscal rules amid reports Brussels is to reject France's new budget.

German coalition deal aims for 'Macron-lite' EU renewal

Merkel and Schulz clear the first hurdle of coalition talks, but the SPD's full membership backing is still needed. The likely coalition parties express support for Macron's eurozone reform ideas, but remain cautious.

News in Brief

  1. Abbas in Brussels to discuss Palestinian state recognition
  2. Exiled Catalan leader leaves Belgium for first time
  3. CSU politicians set to oppose concessions to SPD
  4. Greek mass protests against use of 'Macedonia' in name dispute
  5. Oxfam report reveals inequality as Davos elite gather
  6. Macron: France would probably have voted to quit EU
  7. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  8. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. How Oettinger's CO2 permit sale could fill Brexit blackhole
  2. New Polish foreign minister tries to charm EU commission
  3. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  4. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  5. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  6. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  7. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  8. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names