Saturday

21st Jan 2017

No eurozone-only assembly, say MEPs

  • The Van Rompuy paper will top the agenda at the October EU summit (Photo: European Parliament)

MEPs have dismissed suggestions that a new parliamentary body should be set up solely for eurozone members stating that “no new accountability structures specific to the euro-area must be established.”

In an unofficial reflection paper prepared by the three MEPs representing parliament in advance of negotiations with Herman Van Rompuy, the deputies said: "the Euro is the currency of the European Union and European Parliament is the parliament of the European Union. The European Parliament, therefore, is the parliament of the Euro."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Van Rompuy recently mooted the possibility of a separate body for the eurozone-17 in an ideas paper circulated to member states.

The EU Council chief also hinted at establishing "a central budget for the euro area" in order to "deal with asymmetric shocks and help prevent contagion."

The parliament's team of ‘sherpas’ consists of German conservative Elmar Brok, along with Liberal group leader Guy Verhofstadt, and Italian centre-left deputy Roberto Gaultieri.

In a five page memo, MEPs claim that reforms should be based on “four building blocks”: banking, fiscal, economic and political union.

In a bid to increase political integration, they also called for all European political parties to appoint a candidate for the Commission presidency for the 2014 elections.

Meanwhile, the Economic and Monetary Affairs commissioner should become the official "treasurer of the EU" and chair eurozone finance minister meetings.

The sherpas also insist that “a more integrated fiscal union should include different forms of fiscal solidarity, from short-term funding instruments on a limited and conditional basis, to gradual roll-over into a redemption fund.” This could also mean the swift introduction of joint liability eurobills to replace short-term government debt.

The idea of a redemption fund pooling all eurozone sovereign debt over the 60% threshold set out in the Stability and Growth Pact to be paid off over 20 years, was presented earlier this year by the German Council of Economic Experts and is unlikely to require a treaty change.

The paper comes as the parliament is set to begin battling with member states over the commission’s ambitious banking union legislation. Although the proposals include a revision of the rule-book establishing the European Banking Authority, which was jointly approved by MEPs and governments l in 2011, the regulation to establish the European Central Bank as the eurozone’s single financial supervisor only gives EU governments a say.

MEPs insist that they will treat the two files as a package with an equal say for parliament. They are also insisting on greater scrutiny powers over the ECB in its new role.

Negotiations between Van Rompuy, the commission and parliament will finalise a set of proposals to top off the agenda at the European Council summit on October 18-19.

Van Rompuy is hoping that member states can agree on the less politically-charged proposals which can be effected without a convention and treaty change.

GMO opt-out plan remains in waiting room

The commission wants to give the power to member states to reject EU-approved genetically modified organisms, but the Maltese presidency is unlikely to approach the issue any time soon.

New EU parliament coalitions get in shape

Social-democrats and their allies scored a major win on Thursday with the adoption of a report on social rights. But questions remain on the parliament's power balance after the end of the left-right grand coalition.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey