Thursday

20th Sep 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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU

The justice commissioner says the accommodation-rental website will better inform users about prices, and about the legal status of their 'hosts'. Facebook, however, could face sanctions if it doesn't comply with EU rules.

'Every group split' ahead of EU copyright vote

Political groups in the European Parliament are split about how to vote for a directive that would reform the EU's copyright regime - amid warnings that freedom of expression and creators' rights are at risk.

News in Brief

  1. UK's Brexit plan 'won't work', says EU's Tusk
  2. Austria ex-chancellor hints at running for Juncker's job
  3. Greece to move asylum-seekers from overcrowded Lesbos camp
  4. Transatlantic soya trade soars due to trade wars
  5. EU tables strategy for connecting Europe and Asia
  6. Bulgaria backs Hungary in dispute with EU
  7. Trump urged Spain to build Sahara wall to stop migrants
  8. EU-Arab League summit proposed for February in Egypt

Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU

The justice commissioner says the accommodation-rental website will better inform users about prices, and about the legal status of their 'hosts'. Facebook, however, could face sanctions if it doesn't comply with EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us