19th Nov 2019

MEPs say incoming commissioners should be quizzed on economic crisis

  • Parliament is due to hold hearings on incoming commissioners later this year (Photo: EUobserver)

MEPs attending a first meeting of the European Parliament's special committee on the financial and economic crisis on Wednesday (4 November) said the group's work should extend well beyond the financial sector.

And in a sign that the committee wants the new incoming EU executive to tackle the ongoing crisis seriously, several members suggested the parliament should quiz designate commissioners on the subject during parliamentary hearings.

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"The new college of commissioners must give an opinion on jobs," said French centre-right MEP Rachida Dati, until recently a minister under French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The oral hearings – which have seen candidates rejected in the past - could start as soon as 25 November.

"The first job of the Barroso commission is to come up with an integrated European solution to tackle the crisis," said the special committee's rapporteur, French Socialist MEP Pervenche Beres.

The new committee was formally set up last month to analyse the causes of the financial crisis, and is set to follow this up with recommendations on how to prevent a repetition of the crunch.

MEPs stressed the need to look at job creation in Europe and to make a contribution to the EU's future economic blueprint.

"We should look beyond the crisis and take an interest in the conclusions of the spring European Council," said Ms Beres.

Post-Lisbon plan

EU leaders meeting for a spring summit next March are set to agree the outlines of a new economic plan for the 27-member union – with job creation and the move to a more environmentally friendly economy likely to feature prominently.

The bloc's current economic strategy – the Lisbon Agenda – is due to expire next year, meaning the next few months of policy discussions will have long-lasting ramifications for the union.

The temporary parliamentary committee is due to produce a report after a little over one year of hearings, but is also likely to produce a mid-term document in the first half of next year.

However Ms Beres indicated that the committee could come forward with a list of proposals before the March EU summit, although this has yet to be confirmed.

The extent of EU's impending jobs crisis was highlighted by a fresh set of economic forecasts produced by the commission on Tuesday that predict EU unemployment will rise above 10 percent next year despite a mild upturn in economic growth.

MEPs warned against complacency following the recent signs of economic improvement, pointing to Europe's ageing population and the already over-extended government finances as sources of major concern.

As well as the temporary committee's final report, the group will seek to influence legislation coming out of the parliament's permanent committees.

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