Saturday

13th Aug 2022

Eurozone MEPs should have exclusive voting rights, French deputy says

  • Will the 'ins' and 'outs' of the eurozone eventually be reflected in the parliament too? (Photo: EUobserver)

Deputies from eurozone countries should alone be allowed to vote on issues to do with the single currency in a special committee, a leading MEP has suggested.

French Socialist MEP Pervenche Beres, head of the European Parliament's employment committee, believes it is time to set up a sub-committee on the eurozone where "only euro members would vote" to reflect the general trend in the EU towards a political and policy-making split between euro and non-euro member states.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

She made the suggestion in an amendment to her own report on European Semesters, a new system that sees member states submit budgetary plans to the European Commission for comment, one of a series of innovations designed to improve economic governance in the eurozone.

Beres admits the idea is controversial but says the issue needs raising as parliament otherwise risks getting left behind in the fast-moving discussions on economic governance in the 17-member eurozone.

"The democratic debate and the public debate on economic policy is the essence of a democracy. And if you only have it at the member states level and behind closed doors in the eurogroup, then you have a lack of democracy."

She indicated that if the EU assembly does not seize the initiative, then national parliaments will get there first.

Beres, who was previously head of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, also suggested her colleagues should be pragmatic in their approach to the "taboo" topic.

"If you want to fix the eurozone today, you’re not going to ask the Polish or the Brits to take all the measures and the risks that are needed to safeguard the eurozone," she told this website.

She also suggests that economic policy requires a new halfway house between intergovernmentalism - where only member states have a say - and the community method, jargon for a process led by Brussels.

"I am 100 percent in favour of the community method. But I know this method has been tailor-made for internal market purposes. Does it 100 percent fit economic policy? I am not so sure."

Her suggestion reflects the change in the European political landscape since the onset of the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone.

The policies and decisions, which concern millions of euros of taxpayers money, have shifted the emphasis to the member states - rather than the commission - and resulted in a political chasm between those with the euro and the 10 countries that do not have it. This is particularly resented by newer member states not yet in the euro but legally obliged to join it.

Under Beres' idea, which she says is mainly to designed to "kickstart a debate", the sub-committee would be open to all members of the parliament but only eurozone MEPs would be allowed to vote.

She said that while there have not been many complaints yet, she "can see that they are coming."

UK Liberal MEP Andrew Duff was one of the first off the mark saying the committee idea "causes very great concern."

"There is no precedent for excluding MEPs elected in any one state from participation in all parliamentary activities," he wrote in a letter to Beres.

The idea will will get its first public test on Monday when the constitutional affairs committee gives its opinion on the French MEP's report.

Barroso outlines 'comprehensive' roadmap to tackle eurozone crisis

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday outlined a five-point “roadmap” aimed at bringing an end to the eurozone crisis that has rattled world markets and threatened to drag the global economy into a second recession.

Parliament approves economic governance ‘six-pack’

After almost a year since the European Commission first proposed a package of laws radically centralising economic decision-making in the European Union, the legislative process approving the so-called ‘six-pack’ of bills has finally come to an end with the European Parliament giving its assent on Wednesday.

EU holds first meeting on joint economic governance

EU finance ministers and treasury officials are gathering in Brussels on Friday to debate tighter co-ordination of fiscal policy in the wake of the Greek debt crisis, with Germany floating ambitious plans on the eve of the event.

Brazil pitches itself as answer to Ukraine war food shortages

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is pitching his Latin American country as the answer to the world food crisis following the war in Ukraine. The traditional wheat importer has now exported three million tonnes of the grain so far in 2022.

Opinion

Exploiting the Ukraine crisis for Big Business

From food policy to climate change, corporate lobbyists are exploiting the Ukraine crisis to try to slash legislation that gets in the way of profit. But this is only making things worse.

News in Brief

  1. Germany to help nationals cope with energy price spike
  2. Germany wants pipeline from Portugal
  3. Ukraine urges US to sanction all Russian banks
  4. Spain evacuates 294 Afghans
  5. EU sanctions have 'limited' effect of Russian oil production
  6. Donors pledge €1.5bn to Ukraine's war effort
  7. Sweden overtakes France as EU's top power exporter
  8. Italy's far-right star in European charm offensive

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us