Friday

28th Jul 2017

Van Rompuy defends economic taskforce against critics

  • Herman Van Rompuy is defending his task-force on economic governance (Photo: European Parliament)

EU council president Herman Van Rompuy on Wednesday (22 September) defended the working speed of his taskforce set up to look at legal ways to strengthen economic co-ordination among member states in order to avoid another sovereign debt crisis.

"Although some have claimed that our work on this is slow, we have in fact covered an enormous amount of ground in a very short time," Mr Van Rompuy told MEPs during a hearing on the outcome of last week's summit.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

He added that in his view, progress on updating rules on economic governance was happening "very quickly" when compared to the negotiations establishing the 1997 Stability and Growth Pact, which laid down the ground rules for the eurozone.

In the run-up to the summit, several EU diplomats cast doubts that Mr Van Rompuy's taskforce would make any headway in the coming months. "Van Rompuy has probably already achieved what he expected to achieve in terms of the European semester," one source said, referring to the new six-month budget review period agreed by finance ministers two weeks ago.

But the former Belgian prime minister insisted that his report, due on 27 September and likely to be adopted by EU leaders on 28-29 October, will "draw the final right lessons of the crisis."

He admitted however that there are divergences among member states over the scope of sanctions for deficit laggards – the sticking point over how to make economic governance work.

As economic talks at last week's summit were completely overshadowed by the Roma row between France and the EU commission, Mr Van Rompuy stressed that such council gatherings should not be seen as "summits", but as "routine meetings" of an EU institution.

Criticised by leftist and Green MEPs that he appears to be in a "parallel galaxy" for presenting the summit as a "success", Mr Van Rompuy said he prefers to stick to "facts" rather than be "seduced by perceptions."

He defended his stance that EU leaders should meet as often as possible under his chairmanship, because it "gives to the member states a sense of ownership and participation in the Union and reinforces their commitment to its success."

"That is why I am investing time and energy in maintaining regular contacts with the presidents of other institutions, not least the President of the European Commission, the rotating council presidency, the Central Bank, the Euro Group and of course yourself Mr President [of the European Parliament]."

With all his good intentions of making the EU work, last week's summit was however marred by fighting over the extent to which the commission should be allowed to defend EU law.

Speaking in the plenary, Socialist leader Martin Schulz highlighted the problem of applying EU policies "only when it fits my policies back home" - something he said that both centre-right and centre-left governments indulged in.

"This institutional danger puts Europe as a whole at risk. We need the community method and it is the task of the European Parliament to get this through," he said.

Van Rompuy economic governance task-force fizzling out

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy's pet project, a task-force exploring EU 'economic governance', appears to be fizzling out as 'economic governance' endeavours developed by the European Commission take centre stage instead amid bickering between member states.

Van Rompuy to draft plan for deeper economic union

EU leaders have tasked council chief Van Rompuy with drafting a plan on deepening the eurozone's economic union. A similar report was issued in 2010, leading to tougher sanctions for deficit sinners.

Investigation

Inside the Code of Conduct, the EU's most secretive group

The informal group of national officials that is in charge of checking EU countries' tax laws is now working on the first EU blacklist of tax havens, amid critiques over its lack of transparency and accountability.

Ombudsman asks for more details on Barroso case

Emily O'Reilly has asked the EU Commission to say what former commissioners should be allowed to do after they leave office and explain why it took no decision over its former president's controversial new job.

Investigation

Inside the Code of Conduct, the EU's most secretive group

The informal group of national officials that is in charge of checking EU countries' tax laws is now working on the first EU blacklist of tax havens, amid critiques over its lack of transparency and accountability.

News in Brief

  1. Werner Hoyer re-appointed as EU investment bank chief
  2. Spanish PM denies knowledge of party corruption
  3. France 'routinely' abuses migrants, says NGO
  4. Swedish government rocked by data scandal
  5. Member states relocate 3,000 migrants in June
  6. Top EU jurist says Malta's finch-trapping against EU law
  7. EU judges rule to keep Hamas funds frozen
  8. EU court rejects passenger data deal with Canada

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  2. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  3. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  5. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  6. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  7. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  9. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  10. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  11. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  12. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Ep. 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug

Latest News

  1. Corbyn re-opens Labour's single market wound
  2. Visegrad lobby makes food quality an EU issue
  3. EU court could dismiss national borders in cyberspace
  4. Confusion swirls around Macron's Libya 'hotspots'
  5. Insults fly after EU ultimatum to Poland
  6. UK requests EU migration study, 13 months after Brexit vote
  7. EU defends airline data-sharing after court ruling
  8. Stop blaming Trump for Poland’s democratic crisis